McCoy: Reds offense listless as Cardinals take four-game series

The St. Louis Cardinals spent Sunday afternoon in Busch Stadium challenging their city’s littering laws.

In the first six innings, they were 1 for 10 with runners in scoring position and stranded nine runners.

Fortunately for them they have Yadier Molina on their side and utilized the long ball to beat the Cincinnati Reds, 6-2, to win three of the four-game series.

And fortunately for them, the Reds still search for hits like a man on a beach searching for coins with a metal detector.

In their last three games in Busch, the Reds nibbled only nine hits in 27 innings.

“It’s pretty simple,” said perplexed manager David Bell. “We just didn’t get any offense started. We turn the page and we have to keep playing.”

What he has to hope is that when they turn the page, they aren’t on the same chapter.

Eugenio Suarez launched a first-inning two-run home run to give the Reds a 2-0 lead before the Cardinals batted.

Then they collected only two hits after that against starter Daniel Ponce de Leon and the Cardinals bullpen.

The Cardinals tied it in the second against Reds starter Tyler Mahle when Molina led off the inning with a single, his first of four hits, and No. 9 hitter Harrison Bader crushed a two-run game-tying home run that hit the top of the center field wall and bounced over.

St. Louis pushed ahead, 3-2, in the third with Molina, The Ancient Receiver, sticking a dagger into Cincinnati’s side, as he has done over over during his 16-year major league career.

Paul Goldschmit led with a double and Molina poked a run-scoring single to left.

It stayed that way until the seventh when the Cardinals broke it open with three runs off relief pitcher Nate Jones.

Matt Carpenter blooped one to right field and hustled it into a double. Molina poked his fourth hit into right field to make it 4-2.

Rookie Dylan Carlson put the point of emphasis on proceedings with his first major league home run, a two-run drive to right field for a 6-2 lead.

For the game, the Cardinals were 2 for 15 with runners in scoring position and stranded 12. But Molina, Bader and Carlson made certain it didn’t matter.

And it didn’t matter because the Reds continue to swing their bats like fly swatters, and the flies always get away.

Mahle pitched only three innings and gave up three runs, five hits, three walks and he struck out five, making his first start in 11 days.

“Tyler has been pitching well, but it has been, in fairness to him, it has been choppy in his workload,” said Bell. “There has been all kinds of time between his outings and a relief outing mixed in. He is not where he exactly wants to be.”

To show how things are going for the Reds, Jesse Winker was hit by a pitch and called out on strikes. Rookie umpire Jose Navas ruled that Winker leaned into the pitch and the it would have been a strike.

Winker yelled, “Are you kidding me,” something Reds fans are saying many times over these days.

“The thing is, you don’t ever see that call,” said Bell. “We’ve been on the other end of that. Guys are right on top of the plate and sometimes they look like strikes when they get hit and it’s not ever called a strike.”

The Reds offense consisted of three hits, six walks and a hit batsman and they are now 11-and-15 with the 60-game season fast slipping away.