Michael Wacha has been nearly unbeatable against the Cincinnati Reds.
Wacha kept up his strong pitching against Cincinnati, Yadier Molina hit two-run double in the first inning, and the St. Louis Cardinals won 4-2 Friday night to spoil Jim Riggleman’s debut as Reds interim manager.
Wacha (3-1) gave up one run and six hits in 6 2/3 innings, his longest outing of the year, to improve to 10-1 in his career against the Reds.
“I don’t know what it is. I just have a good record against them I guess,” Wacha said. “I try not to think who’s out there, who I’m facing but just trying to attack every single team that comes in here. I really can’t put my finger on what it is honestly.”
Cardinals Manager Mike Matheny had his own ideas as to why Wacha has been so successful against the Reds.
“Michael, you know he’s got good stuff,” Matheny said. “You throw him out there often enough against anybody, I think he’s going to get his share of wins and just watch him continue to improve.”
Jose Martinez had three hits and an RBI, raising his batting average to .358 this season. He has eight RBIs over his last seven games. Tommy Pham scored twice as the Cardinals gave Wacha a 4-0 lead after two innings.
“We went out there and tried to be aggressive,” Martinez said. “The plan was to go out there and score first and we did it so I felt like we set the tone and (Wacha) kept us in the game and that was good.”
Bud Norris picked up his fifth save in five chances despite allowing a two-out RBI single to Alex Blandino, helping the Cardinals win for the sixth time in seven games.
Brandon Finnegan (0-2) lost for the second time in two starts against the Cardinals this year. Finnegan came off the disabled list (left biceps strain) April 14th. He allowed five hits and four runs while walking four over three innings.
Riggleman replaced Bryan Price, who was fired Thursday after Cincinnati lost 15 of its first 18 games. The Reds have now lost 11 of their last 12.
Pham, who scored on Molina’s bases-loaded double in the first, walked in the second and scored on Martinez’s double to make it 4-0.
The Reds’ only damage against Wacha came in the third as Billy Hamilton scored on Jose Peraza’s sacrifice fly. It was Cincinnati’s first run since the eighth inning against Milwaukee on Monday, ending a 21-inning scoreless streak. Last season the Reds season-high scoreless streak was 20 innings.
While Riggleman wasn’t happy with the outcome he seemed pleased to get the chance to manage again.
“It wasn’t quite riding a bike,” Riggleman said. “I was very excited to get the opportunity again. We want to do some good things and carry on (Bryan Price’s) message and our guys did. They played hard. We want to go hard on behalf of everybody and this city (Cincinnati), the fans. They deserve better baseball and they’re going to get better baseball.”
FOURTH TIME’S A CHARM
The Reds appointment of Riggleman as interim manager marks the fourth time in his career that he has held this position. He previously was named interim manager in San Diego, Seattle and Washington. He was promoted to manager everywhere but Seattle. Riggleman also managed the Chicago Cubs (1995-1998) and managed in the Cardinals’ minor league system (1982-’88).
Reds: OF Scott Schebler was activated from the 10-day disabled list and LHP Cody Reed (0-0, four appearances) was optioned to Triple-A Louisville. Schebler was on the DL with a right ulnar nerve contusion.
Cardinals: RHP Sam Tuivailala threw a bullpen session Friday and St. Louis president of baseball operations John Mozeliak said Tuivailala will begin an official rehabilitation assignment the middle of next week. Tuivailala was placed on the DL with a left knee strain.
Reds RHP Homer Bailey (0-3, 3.42) will face Cardinals RHP Carlos Martinez (2-1, 1.75) in the second of a three-game series on Saturday. Martinez is 7-3 in his career against Cincinnati and the Cardinals have won seven of his last nine starts against the Reds, including last Sunday’s 3-2 win in Cincinnati. Bailey is still looking for his first win in five starts. He is 6-14 in his career against St. Louis.