CINCINNATI (AP) – Pitching on a slippery mound, Michael Lorenzen made a couple of mistakes and ended up with another loss.
The rookie gave up three runs in five innings, and the St. Louis Cardinals held on for a 3-0 victory in the rain on Thursday afternoon. Michael Wacha gave his bullpen a respite by pitching seven innings.
St. Louis took two of three in Cincinnati and has won 15 of their last 18 series together. The Reds were shut out for the last 18 innings.
“They didn’t really give us much to be excited about until the last inning,” manager Bryan Price said. “The ballpark played big today.”
The Cardinals improved to 30 games over .500 for the first time since the end of the 2013 season. They have the best record in the major leagues at 69-39.
St. Louis pulled out the second game of the series on Randal Grichuk’s homer in the 13th inning for a 4-3 win on Wednesday night. Wacha (13-4) overcame a 68-minute rain delay at the start of Thursday’s game, and then gave his bullpen a rest.
The right-hander allowed four hits and a pair of walks, allowing only two runners to reach second base as he beat the Reds for the third time this season. Trevor Rosenthal gave up an infield single and a walk in the ninth while getting his 32nd save in 34 chances and completing a five-hitter.
Tony Cruz snapped his 0-for-15 slump with an RBI single, and Kolten Wong singled home two more off Lorenzen (3-7) as the teams played through intermittent, sometimes heavy rain. There was a long delay after the sixth inning to spread a drying compound around the infield.
“They put some good at-bats together,” said Lorenzen, who threw 93 pitches. “I got ahead of guys, but they had some checked swings and fouled some balls off and the next think you know, I look up and my pitch count has skyrocketed.”
Lorenzen, one of five rookies in the Reds’ rotation, gave up three runs in five innings. He hasn’t won since June 21, going 0-5 in seven starts. In his last four starts, he’s allowed 20 runs in 18 innings.
“It’s easy to overlook the fact that he’s a young, inexperienced major league pitcher,” Price said. “He’s got a lot of room to grow.”
Grichuk went 0 for 4, ending his hitting streak at eight games. Cincinnati’s Brandon Phillips extended his hitting streak to seven games.
A LOT OF ZEROES
It was the Cardinals’ 11th shutout of the season, fourth-most in the NL. Last year, they had 23 shutouts. … The Reds’ streak of 18 innings without a run matches their longest of the season – they also did it in June. … Wacha has given up only two runs in 20 1-3 innings against the Reds this season.
RAIN, RAIN, GO AWAY …
It was the 13th rain delay at Great American Ball Park this season, totaling 18 hours, 41 minutes.
Cardinals: LF Stephen Piscotty was hit in the left thigh by one of Lorenzen’s pitches while trying to bunt in the fifth inning. He stayed in the game.
Reds: CF Billy Hamilton got a day off. He has one hit in his last 15 at-bats.
Cardinals: St. Louis goes to Milwaukee for a three-game series. Lance Lynn (8-6) is 7-3 career against the Brewers with a 2.53 ERA. The seven wins are his most against any opponent.
Reds: Cincinnati starts a 10-game trip against the Diamondbacks, the Padres and the Dodgers. Raisel Iglesias (2-3) tries for his first back-to-back wins in the majors, making his first appearance against Arizona.