(Sports Network) - The St. Louis Cardinals' offense put on quite a show on the
road ahead of the club's 2013 home opener.
The Cards return to Busch Stadium following a six-game swing out west and
they'll begin their home slate with the opener of a three-game set against the
rival Cincinnati Reds.
St. Louis dropped two of three in Arizona to begin the season and were then
shut out 1-0 on Friday in the opener of a three-game series against the
defending champion San Francisco Giants. However, the Cards bounced back with
a victory on Saturday before erupting for a nine-run fourth frame in Sunday's
14-3 win to take the series.
The Cardinals sent 14 men to the plate in that game-deciding frame as they
chased Giants ace Matt Cain from the game. Matt Adams, Matt Carpenter and
Carlos Beltran each drove in two runs in the inning, while Adams and Carpenter
combined to go 6-for-9 with five RBI and four runs scored.
That offensive showcase allowed Adam Wainwright to cruise to his first victory
of the season. He hurled seven innings of two-run ball and struck out six.
"Pitching against Matt (Cain) you have to take that 0-0 mentality," Wainwright
said. "I cracked first and I thought I had to keep it there for us to have a
chance. Our offense did an amazing job. Against a pitcher like that you never
expect anything like that."
St. Louis' big offensive showing came with third baseman David Freese again
out of the lineup after opening the season on the disabled list due to a
strained lower back. Freese, though, could be activated prior to Monday's
opener after hitting .293 last season with 20 homers and 79 RBI last season.
Taking the ball for the Cardinals in their home opener will be 26-year-old
Jaime Garcia, who won the lone game of the series with the Diamondbacks last
Garcia lasted 5 2/3 innings, allowing a run on two hits, one a solo homer. He
also walked four and struck out four, running his career record in April to
8-2 with a 2.00 earned run average in 15 starts.
The left-hander is 8-2 with a 3.33 ERA in 13 career meetings with the Reds, 11
of those starts.
Countering for the Reds will be Mat Latos, who began his second season with
the club with a no-decision against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on
Latos, a 25-year-old righty, struck out eight over 6 2/3 innings, but two of
the seven hits he allowed were homers. He gave up three runs in total, but was
denied a win due to a blown save.
Latos is 2-4 with a 9.00 ERA in seven previous meetings with the Cardinals.
Cincinnati has begun the 2013 season with consecutive series wins, taking two
of three from both the Angels and Washington Nationals. The Reds claimed
Sunday's rubber match with the Nats 6-3 thanks to a three-run sixth inning.
Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce each had an RBI single in the frame and Bruce
ended with three RBI.
"Both sides were scoring early at will. Neither one was sharp. I'm just glad
we won the series," Reds manager Dusty Baker said.
Johnny Cueto earned the win, allowing three runs over six innings. He also
struck out six, while Aroldis Chapman worked around a one-out double in the
ninth to record his second save of the season.
The Cardinals went 8-7 versus the Reds last season, taking four of six at
The Sports Network