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Reds flex their lineup in 8-2 thrashing

2012-08-25T11:28:00Z 2012-08-25T22:23:21Z Reds flex their lineup in 8-2 thrashingBY DERRICK GOOLD stltoday.com
August 25, 2012 11:28 am  • 

POST-GAME UPDATE: CINCINNATI • Cardinals third baseman David Freese will have a CAT scan taken of his left wrist this evening to determine if there is any injury that did not show up during an initial examination of the joint.

Freese was hit in the wrist by a pitch Friday night, and he initially did not have X-rays taken. The swelling had subsided enough Saturday afternoon for an X-ray to be taken at Great American Ball Park. It did not show any break, Freese said.

The CAT scan will be used to show "a deeper look," Freese explained. A hairline fracture would show up in the higher-clarity scan.

"We want to make sure he's not going to do anything more to cause a problem," manager Mike Matheny said.

Freese did not take swings as planned before Saturday's game and he was not available to hit at all in the game. That was the biggest reason that Matheny did not go to him two runners on base in the seventh inning and a pinch-hit appearance available. Freese said the wrist was sore after the game, but underscored the CAT scan is a precaution that could clear the way to swing Sunday if no damage is found.

Game coverage from earlier ...

 

CINCINNATI • On Saturday, it was the Reds' turn to show off.

Less than 24 hours after the Cardinals flexed their offensive muscle with a big inning to take the first game of their visit, Cincinnati answered by turning a taut game into flat rout at Great American Ball Park. The Reds scored a combined seven runs in the sixth and seventh innings to turn a tie game into an 8-2 victory.

Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce catapulted Cincy with home runs. Bruce's two-run homer in the sixth extended the lead to a 4-1. Phillisp' solo homer sparked a two-out rally against rookie Brandon Dickson that put the game out of reach for the Cardinals.

Jaime Garcia kept it within reach for a five innings.

The lefty, in his second game back from the disabled list, held the Reds to one run before the sixth inning slipped away from him. Garcia allowed the first two batters of the inning to reach and then after showing clear frustration with a could-be double play, Garcia allowed the homer to Bruce. The lefty finished the inning and left the game having allowed four runs on seven hits. He struck out five.

Reds' starter Mike Leake allowed more but gave up less.

The young sinkerballer scattered 10 hits through his 6 2/3 innings of work. He kept the Caridnals muzzled by benefiting from a couple double plays, including one by pinch-hitter Shane Robinson that virtually erased the Cardinals' chances at a bigger inning in the seventh.

The Cardinals finished the game 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position. Many of those hitless at-bats were scattered throughout the middle of the order, which lacked David Freese and Yadier Molina because of a bruised wrist and a sore ankle, respectively. Contrast that with the production the Reds got from the middle of their order: Nos. 3 and 4 hitters Brandon Phillips and Ryan Ludwick combined to go 6-for-8 with three runs scored and Phillips' RBI.

The win gives the first-place Reds a seven-game lead in the National League Central. It sets up Sunday's game as the rubber match in these two rivals' penultimate series of the regular season.

Adam Wainwright will start against Homer Bailey at 12:10 p.m. St. Louis time.

***

Reds bullpen takes over with a 4-2 lead

One of the most overwhelming bullpens in the majors is now standing between the Cardinals and a rally this afternoon.

Sean Marshall entered the game with one runner on base and a two-run lead in the seventh the inning. He was able to get the first batter he faced, Matt Carpenter, to fly out to center and end the inning. It could have been a breakthrough inning for the Cardinals.

One reason: the relievers weren't yet involved.

The Cardinals opened the seventh with back-to-back singles from the bottom of the order. Tony Cruz had his second single of the game, and No. 8 hitter Rafael Furcal followed with a high-hopper over the reach of Reds first baseman Todd Frazier.

With the pitcher coming up, the Cardinals opted for a pinch hitter. The call went to Shane Robinson. It could have gone to David Freese (wrist) or even, in a push, Yadier Molina (ankle). Leake was listing and the Cardinals had the tying run at the plate. Robinson gave Leake an out. The Cardinals' No. 4 outfielder chopped into a double play. Cruz scored to slash the Reds' lead to 4-2. But the bases were suddenly clear and the rally had fizzled.

Marshall came in after Jon Jay hit a two-out single.

With Marshall and Aroldis Chapman, two lefties, as its cornerstones, the Reds' bullpen leads the NL in ERA. Chapman, the hard-throwing closer, has a team-franchise record-tying streak of 23 converted saves.

***

Bruce blasts Reds to a 4-1 lead

It's become part of Jaime Garcia's narrative -- that moment he gets frustrated, let's his emotions show on the mound, and then things start to unravel.

Whether it's purely anecdotal or completely emotional is a subject of debate.

Regardless, it has been known to happen.

Take this afternoon's sixth inning. The first two batters of the inning reach base. Brandon Phillips doubles to open the inning and Ryan Ludwick follows with a hard single to push Phillips to third base. Garcia gets a welcome groundball from the next hitter, Todd Frazier, and the Cardinals decide to concede the run in exchange for the double play. The turn is good, the out is there at second, but the runner is safe at first. Garcia begins yelling until he remembers to cover up his mouth with his glove.

The next batter homers.

All the dots line up.

Jay Bruce connected on a 1-1 pitch from Garcia for a two-run home run that put the Reds ahead 4-1 thought six innings of play. The two-run shot to right-center field was the 27th of the season for Bruce.

It was also the first homer allowed by Garcia to a lefthanded hitter. In his career, he had allowed only four homers to a lefty before Saturday.

***

Carpenter's sacrifice fly ties game, 1-1

The Cardinals' chance to tie the game hit a hiccup when pitcher Jaime Garcia failed to move two runners over a base with a bunt after back-to-back singles to begin the fifth inning.

Jon Jay made sure it didn't matter.

With one out and runners still at first and second base, Jay lined a single to center that loaded the bases with one out. That meant No. 2 hitter Matt Carpenter could loft a ball somewhere and have a good chance of tying the game. That's what Carpenter did. For the second time in as many games, Carpenter drove home a run with a sacrifice fly. This time it was Tony Cruz racing home from third to knot today's game, 1-1.

The throw home allowed two runners to advance, and Matt Holliday had the right hit just in the wrong direction to add to the Cardinals' rally. Holliday mashed a grounder, but it went right at shortstop Zack Cozart to end the inning.

***

Phillips drives Reds to a 1-0 lead

It's not the 10-K dominance that Jaime Garcia showed in his first start back from the disabled list, but he's been able to pitch around trouble without that same crispness this afternoon at Great American Ball Park.

That is, except for one pitch to Brandon Phillips.

Missing a bit up with his fastball, Garcia left an 0-2 pitch high in the zone and Phillips whacked it for a two-out single that scored pitcher Mike Leake for a 1-0 lead through three innings.

Leake hit a leadoff double down the left-field line to open the third inning. Garcia then did what he had done in the previous inning -- he pitched around the trouble. Garcia got a line drive to third base to help him. He struck out Drew Stubbs for the second time in as many at bats for the second out of the inning. He got ahead 0-2 with his first two pitches to Phillips.

Phillips RBI liner to center produced a run but will be remembered for the dash back to first.

Phillips took a wide turn around first base. First baseman Allen Craig cut the ball off and had Phillips frozen in no-man's land between first and second. No one was covering first base, so it was a race between Craig and Phillips back to the bag. Both dove -- Phillips toward the bag, Craig toward Phillips. Umpire Brian Runge called Phillips safe. Replays showed that Craig applied a tag well before Phillips had his hand on the bag.

The call almost mattered, but didn't.

Ryan Ludwick scalded a line drive down the third-base line that was bound for extra bases before a diving Matt Carpenter cut it off and caught it for the out.

Garcia has three strikeouts and three hits allowed through three.

A leadoff double by Matt Holliday in the top of the fourth did not produce a run as Craig was robbed again -- this time with a diving catch by Jay Bruce in right field.

***

Kelly moving to starting rotation, Lynn to the 'pen

Rookie Joe Kelly will move back to the rotation and take Lance Lynn's next scheduled start, Wednesday in Pittsburgh.

The players were notified of the move this morning.

Kelly rescued the Cardinals on Friday night with three strong innings of relief after Lynn failed to get through the third inning. Lynn has been in a steady spiral in his past six starts, a sign that manager Mike Matheny said means "he just needs a break."

"A little change of scenery should do him good," Matheny said.

The move is open-ended. Matheny said it will be evaluated start-to-start. Lynn will first be available in the bullpen after a few days of rest. The righty told Matheny this morning that he would be available today if necessary. Matheny would like Lynn to take the time away from the rotation to reset but also work. It's not clear how the team plans to get him work between appearances or within appearances to correct his troubles with command.

Lynn has insisted that he is not feeling fatigued or a lack of strength. The Cardinals have not seen signs of a dead arm or anything else that would be the result of his workload.

Instead, most of his trouble has come from command.

Kelly has pitched twice in relief since leaving the rotation. Both times it was essential to the Cardinals staying in the game. Kelly handled 5 2/3 innings of relief in the 19-inning loss to Pittsburgh last weekend, and on Friday he allowed one run in three innings of work. Kelly will go back onto the normal starter's schedule without concern of his stamina and strength because of the long-form relief appearances circumstances presented him this past week.

Some other notes from the pre-game press availability:

-- David Freese experienced some swelling in his left wrist, but less than some expected. He had difficulty keeping his fielding glove on last night late in Friday's game. Today the wrist was tender and he did not take batting practice, but he planned to take some swings in the cages to "see how it feels."

"I came here to play today," he said. "But I think a day of treatment makes sense."

-- Yadier Molina rolled his ankle several days ago and it started stiffen up on him during Friday's game -- a game in which he had three hits and the tie-breaking home run. Molina is considered day to day, but the Cardinals hope to keep him off the ankle completely today.

-- Prospect Tyrell Jenkins, a young righty at Low-A Quad Cities, was removed from his start Friday night after striking out the first two batters. He felt some muscle discomfort near his right shoulder, and this morning he was diagnosed with a strained right lat. The injury will end his season. He will be re-evaluated before the regular season comes to a close.

***

Freese and Molina sit for Game 2 vs. Reds

Cardinals third baseman David Freese left the ballpark Friday night with his left wrist wrapped and his availability for today's game uncertain.

He has his answer.

The early lineup posted for the Cardinals does not include Freese, who took a fastball off his knobby protrusion near his left wrist late in Friday's 8-5 victory at Great American Ball Park. Freese said he did not get X-rays on the joint because they didn't appear necessary. He was uncertain how swelling overnight would inhibit his ability to play today.

There will be an update on his condition once clubhouses open here at GABP. And, keep in mind, the Cardinals lineup has gone up early here before manager Mike Matheny has finalized it. Earlier this season, a lineup posted by the Reds in the press box was incorrect because Matheny had yet to check on Lance Berkman's availability.

So, here is the lineup provided at this moment:

1. Jon Jay, CF

2. Matt Carpenter, 3B

3. Matt Holliday, LF

4. Allen Craig, 1B

5. Carlos Beltran, RF

6. Skip Schumaker, 2B

7. Tony Cruz, C

8. Rafael Furcal, SS

9. Jaime Garcia

More throughout the afternoon and evening from GABP here at C-Beat.

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Baseball writers Derrick Goold and Rick Hummel cover the Cardinals for the Post-Dispatch and STLtoday.com. They'll provide daily Cardinals updates here, from the start of spring training through the end of the season and beyond.

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