McCoy: Offense, bullpen key as Reds take series from Cardinals

Cincinnati Reds' Tyler Stephenson, left, scores on a wild pitch by St. Louis Cardinals relief pitcher Andrew Miller, right, during the seventh inning of a baseball game Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Cincinnati Reds' Tyler Stephenson, left, scores on a wild pitch by St. Louis Cardinals relief pitcher Andrew Miller, right, during the seventh inning of a baseball game Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

On a day when the starting pitchers on both sides were on Struggle Street, the Cincinnati Reds took advantage and the St. Louis Cardinals didn’t.

For the Reds, the often-challenged offense produced at least one hit in all nine innings and pecked away for a much-needed 10-5 victory.

Cardinals starter Carlos Martinez started the game with a 0-and-2 record and a 12.27 earned run average. He was gone after four innings — three runs, six hits, two walks, eight strikeouts.

Reds starter Tyler Mahle, coming off two straight suberb starts, carried a 1-and-2 record with a 3.89 earned run average. He was gone after 2 2/3 innings — three runs, four hits, four walks, three strikeouts.

The Reds were down, 5-4, entering the seventh, but scored three runs on one hit to forge ahead and piled on from there.

The difference? The Reds bullpen pretty much shut it down and the Reds pecked away at six St. Louis relief pitchers.

They scored seven runs over the last four innings and finished with 13 hits while striking out 14 times.

And there was a rare sighting of Reds relief pitcher Archie Bradley. He made his first appearance in more than a week and pitched a perfect sixth inning and a perfect seventh inning.

Prior to that Bradley has pitched one inning since the Reds acquired him in a trade August 31 from the Arizona Diamondbacks.

“That was nice,” said Bradley. “I hadn’t thrown for a bit. I love the guys on this team. This was big for the boys and big for me.”

The Reds had just grabbed a 5-3 lead when he arrived on the scene and he said “It was huge after we had just taken the lead to go out there how big of an inning that was.”

Bradley was followed by Raisel Iglesias, a rare eighth-inning appearance and he went 1-2-3 on nine pitches. Blessed with a five-run lead, he issued a one-out walk to Paul Goldschmidt, but finished the deal with a couple of pop-ups.

Shogo Akiyama led the game off with a double but grew a beard waiting to move up from second base. Nick Castellanos, Joey Votto and Eugenio Suarez all struck out.

The Cardinals took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first when Mahle loaded the bases with two walks and a single.

He escaped with only one run, a sacrifice fly by Rangel, when he retired Yadier Molina with two on.

Brian Goodwin tied it, 1-1, in the second inning with his first home run in a Reds uniform, a ball that crashed against the right-field foul pole.

The Cardinals claimed a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the second when they filled the bases with one out on a double, walk, a run-scoring single by Kolten Wong and a sacrifice fly by Paul DeJong.

The Reds caught a huge break in the third on a ball that wasn’t caught.

Jose Garcia and Joey Votto both singled, Votto on a 3-and-0 pitch. With two outs, Suarez lifted a routine fly ball to left. It wasn’t routine for Dean. He lost it in the sun and the ball plopped on the grass, a run-scoring double for Suarez.

St. Louis walked Mike Moustakas intentionally to fill the bases and Martinez walked Tyler Stephenson to force in the tying run, 3-3. Stephenson fouled off two 3-and-2 pitches before drawing the walk.

When Robert Stephenson walked Brad Miller to open the fifth, Nate Jones arrived on the scene and gave up four straight singles. Those hits included run-scoring singles by Matt Carpenter and No. 9 hitter Harrison Bader for a 5-3 St. Louis lead.

The Reds retrieved one run in the sixth when Goodwin walked, Garcia singled and Castellanos, 1 for 16 with runners in scoring position, popped a two-out, full-count single to center.

But with runners on first and third, Votto popped out to left field, leaving the Reds 5-4 in arrears.

The Cardinals gifted the Reds with three runs in the seventh when the Reds managed just one hit.

Cardinals relief pitcher Andrew Miller hit pinch-hitter Aristides Aquino with a pitch to fill the bases. He walked Freddy Galvis on four pitches to force in a run. He threw a wild pitch to score another run and a third run scored on Garcia’s ground ball to third and the Reds were in front, 7-5.

Suarez added a big insurance run with two outs in the eighth when he ripped a home run over the left field fence, his 13th homer and 30th RBI. More importantly for the Reds, it gave them a three-run margin, 8-5.

The score ballooned to 10-5 in the ninth when Tucker Barnhart singled and Aquino launched his first home run of the season.

Suarez led the hit parade with three hits as the Reds took the series two games to one, their first series win since the first week in August. Akiyama and Garcia each added two hits.

“That was one of my favorite games to be part of,” said manager David Bell. “That game could have gone either way. So many guys on the team stepped up for a really important comeback win.”

The Reds came from behind three times to pull this one out and Bell said, "It wasn’t easy. But the offense up and down the lineup came through and the bullpen was unbelievable.

“What was so enjoyable about that game was the comebacks,” he added. “What matters is that we keep going.”