“A lot of celebration going on today,” Reds manager David Bell said via a post-game Zoom interview. “Looking back to yesterday (a 5-0 loss), our guys have been doing everything they can to win a game, fighting through it, battling. It’s been tough, no question.
“I felt like yesterday there was a little more disappointment than a typical game. I felt it weighing on guys. For the first time I worried about how it may be affecting us.”
Lodolo made certain that feeling went away quickly as he baffled with Cardinals with high fastballs and a biting slider.
“For him to step up as a young pitcher on a day when we needed it most, to be at his best like that, says a lot about Nick,” Bell said. “He did what he is a capable of doing.”
And Lodolo, speaking about his first major-league win after throwing 79 pitches, 57 for strikes?
“It’s good, very cool, especially with the skid we’ve been on,” he told reporters. “Being able to elevate my fastball was the biggest part. My big sweeping breaking ball was good at times. It feels good especially because they had nine righties in the lineup (and) not a single left-hander. A lineup of that caliber is pretty good.”
The Reds put the leadoff hitter on base in five of the first six innings against Wainwright and three scored.
It began in the first inning when the Reds scored two runs. Their 2-0 lead at the end of the first was their first lead after a completed inning in 99 innings.
Tyler Naquin led the inning off with a double. With one out, Wainwright walked both Tommy Pham and Joey Votto on full counts.
Votto’s at bat last 10 pitches and the walk was the 1,300th of his career. The first run scored on Colin Moran’s sacrifice fly to deep center and the second scored on Nick Senzel’s single.
Alejo Lopez led the second off with a single and third baseman J.T. Riddle followed with a single. Lopez scored on Naquin’s ground ball to push the Reds’ advantage to 3-0.
The Cardinals broke through in the sixth and rid themselves of Lodolo. Paul Goldschmidt and Tyler O’Neill hit back-to-back one-out doubles for a run and Lodolo’s day was finished.
The Reds retrieved that run in the sixth and chased Wainwright. Pham led off with a double, Votto again walked on a full count and Moran singled to make it 4-1.
After Lodolo gave up two doubles and a run, Tony Santillan arrived to retire Albert Pujols on a pop-up.
Art Warren followed Santillan in the eighth and struck out both Goldschmidt and the ever-dangerous Nolan Arenado.
Lucas Sims, making only his second appearance since coming off the disabled list last week, pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for a save.
Senzel had two hits all year when the day began but had two Sunday and drove in a run.
“I’m proud of the guys,” Senzel told Bally Sports Ohio’s Jim Day. “We’ve been through some tough stuff to start the year off, but no one’s complained, no one’s wavered, no one’s quit. No excuse, we just stuck together and it is going to come.”
The Reds salvaged one of the three-game series without hitting a home run. The Cardinals didn’t homer during the series either, only the third time in Great American Ball Park history that no homers were hit by either team in a three-game series.