Jordan Hicks didn’t get jammed up.
The rookie St. Louis reliever got Scooter Gennett to ground into a game-ending double play with the bases loaded, and the Cardinals held off the Cincinnati Reds 4-3 Saturday.
“I just tried to stay calm and just throw every pitch to the best of my ability and just try to give my team the best chance to win,” Hicks said. “I just go out there with full confidence and do what you know how to do, what you’ve been doing your whole life.”
Star catcher Yadier Molina hit a tiebreaking home run in the seventh inning as the Cardinals won for the seventh time in their past eight games, including six against the Reds. The Reds dropped their fourth straight, and second under interim manager Jim Riggleman, and fell to 3-17 this season.
St. Louis has won 10 in a row from the Reds dating to last season, matching its longest streak against them since 1949, when the Cardinals won 11 straight.
Hicks (1-0) recorded the final seven outs for his first career victory.
“Amazing,” Molina said of the hard-throwing Hicks. “This kid has the talent to pitch late in the game. Obviously when you throw 102 (miles per hour), you don’t have to be afraid of anything. He’s a great kid and great job for him tonight.”
Jared Hughes (0-2) gave up Molina’s sixth homer, a solo drive. The one-out shot gave Molina his 800th career RBI.
“I totally missed my spot right there,” Hughes said. “I left it up and in the middle. It was not the pitch I wanted. He doesn’t miss mistakes. He did a good job of hitting the heck out of it.”
Cincinnati scored three times in the seventh to tie it. The Reds strung together four singles and a walk in the seventh, with Gennett’s two-run hit making it 3-all. Hicks used one pitch to get Cliff Pennington to fly out, ending the inning with runners at the corners.
Cardinals starter Carlos Martinez pitched six scoreless innings, giving up three hits and striking out seven. He was pulled after 91 pitches and exited with an 18-inning scoreless streak, leaving with a 1.42 ERA.
Home runs by Paul DeJong and Dexter Fowler helped the Cardinals build a 3-0 lead through six.
Cincinnati starter Homer Bailey lasted 5 2/3 innings, allowing seven hits, striking four and walking two.
“I honestly wasn’t very sharp today,” Bailey said. “I did some things that I wasn’t very happy with today. We tried to hold them the best we could. Defensively we did a good job and the offense started coming through there at the end. It was just kind of one of those days where you had to fight back and forth.
“That’s something that shouldn’t be necessarily commented on. It should just be a regular thing that you do every day. Maybe it’s a step in the right direction. But, the overall picture is we still need to do more,” he said.
DeJong hit his sixth home run in the second. Fowler’s third homer opened the sixth for the Cardinals.
BRINGING THE LEATHER
Cardinals 2B Kolten Wong sprinted into right field and had to make a full extension of his glove arm to pull in a flare from Reds OF Adam Duvall in the sixth. Wong then tossed the ball to 1B Jose Martinez to double off Gennett, who had already rounded second base.
Reds: RHP David Hernandez began his rehabilitation assignment at Triple-A Louisville on Friday. He pitched 1/3 of an inning, giving up three hits, four earned runs and striking out one while throwing 19 pitches. He is recovering from right shoulder inflammation.
Cardinals: OF Tommy Pham was held out of the starting lineup because of flu-like symptoms and also to provide another day off to rest a sore groin. Manager Mike Matheny said Pham was available off the bench, but he did not get into the game.
Reds: RHP Luis Castillo (1-2, 6.75) starts the final game of a three-game set in St. Louis against Cardinals RHP Miles Mikolas (2-0, 4.26). Castillo earned the victory in his first appearance this season, but lasted just five innings in his last two starts in which he took the loss both times. Mikolas will go for his first victory at Busch Stadium since joining the Cardinals in the offseason. He got a no-decision in his only home start this year, a 5-4 loss to Milwaukee.