It’s that time of year again, Cardinal Nation. The 2014 baseball season is officially underway. On Monday, the St. Louis Cardinals faced off against one of their heated rivals, the Cincinnati Reds.
Adam Wainwright, the ace of the Cardinals’ staff, dueled against Johnny Cueto for the Reds.
And it was an intense game to start out the 2014 season.
Cueto, while getting out Matt Carpenter, took a line drive to the hand, and began to struggle early in the first with his pitch control, but eventually ended the first inning without any damage done. As for Wainwright, his first inning consisted of one base hit, and two strikeouts. The lone hit was by Brandon Phillips.
In the second, after a single by Cardinals’ powerhouse Matt Adams, the Cardinals could not capitalize, and struck out three straight times. The Reds couldn’t capitalize either, as Cueto and Wainwright continued to duel it out.
Despite Wainwright and Cueto both allowing base hits on occasion, through the first six innings, it was a dead-locked 0-0 game.
And one player changed all of that with one swing of the bat.
In the top of the seventh, Cardinals’ catcher Yadier Molina launched the ball over the left field wall, giving the Cardinals a 1-0 lead.
It was the only run they needed.
Wainwright was taken out after the sixth inning, with 9 strikeouts, only three hits allowed, and 105 pitches.
In the 8th inning, the Cincinnati Reds had their best chance to take control of the game. After not one, but two botched double play attempts, first by Kolten Wong and the second by Matt Adams, the Redbirds’ bullpen came through in the clutch, and the inning ended with them ahead 1-0.
In the ninth inning, Trevor Rosenthal entered the game, and 1,2,3, shut down the rival Reds, as the Cardinals won the game 1-0.
Molina finished the game 2-4 with a single, and the go-ahead home run.
The game wasn’t pretty by any means, however. The Cardinals had their fair share of fielding errors, three of them on the day, but in the end, the bat of Molina, the strong pitching of Wainwright (who won his 100th career game) and the powerful relief of the bullpen led to the victory.
(AP Photo/Michael Keating)