CINCINNATI • After starting twice at right field and twice at third base on the Cardinals’ six-game trip, Tommy Edman turned up at second base Sunday, replacing the Cardinals’ hottest hitter lately, Kolten Wong. Nary a beat was skipped.
Edman singled in his first two at-bats and then homered in his third, keying a two-run fifth inning that propelled the Cardinals to a big lead over the Cincinnati Reds.
The bullpen then helped — and also hurt — as Jack Flaherty gained his seventh win, 5-4, and his third in succession. Giovanny Gallegos got a double play to end the sixth. When Gallegos and Andrew Miller encountered trouble in the seventh, John Gant escaped the inning on a nifty double play started by shortstop Paul DeJong.
After Gant had a spotless eighth, Carlos Martinez staggered to his 14th save in the ninth, stranding the tying run on first as he fanned Reds slugger Eugenio Suarez on a checked swing on which the Cardinals won the appeal to first-base umpire Ramon Ortiz.
And now, the Cardinals return home from a 4-2 trip, still in first place in the National League Central Division, with the ever-challenging Milwaukee Brewers to start a three-game series with the Cardinals on Monday night at Busch Stadium.
Edman, in manager Mike hildt’s mind, is not a supersub. He is a regular and Shildt has that in mind every time he prepares a lineup.
“I think we’ve been to that point," Shildt said. :He’s be in the lineup _ I don’t know how long _ but it’s getting pretty close to a month now.
“I view him as a regular. The last three weeks he’s played like a regular.”
The homer by Edman off lefthander Alex Wood was Edman’s fifth. Later in the inning, Paul Goldschmidt, who had hit a two-run homer, doubled and scored on Marcell Ozuna’s double tht went over the head of center fielder Nick Senzel.
Flaherty, who had reeled off three consecutive starts of seven innings while giving no runs, had his major-league best scoreless streak broken at 23 2/3 innings when Cincinnati’s Eugenio Suarez homered off him in the first. Flaherty, not pitching at quite the same level, escaped scrapes in the fourth an fifth but when he walked Aristides Aquino in the sixth, Shildt called for the pitcher with the majors’ third longest scoreless streak active when he summoned Gallegos.
“Jack was good. Not quite as crisp, but that’s a high bar,” said Shildt. “He probably had a little more in the tank but his command started to get away from him.”
Gallegos, who had a 17 1/3 inning spotless run, quickly added on by inducing a fly out and an inning-ending double play.
But the righthander ran into trouble in the next inning, loading the bases with one out in the seventh. Reliever Andrew Miller walked in Gallegos’ run, which prompted Shildt to go to righthander Gant against Suarez.
Suarez hit a low liner to shortstop where DeJong backhanded a short hop and then started an inning-ending double play to keep the lead at 5-2.
GOLDSCHMIDT HITS TWO-RUN HR
First baseman Paul Goldschmidt has had only seven hits in 29 career at-bats against Cincinnati lefthander Alex Wood. But four of those have been homers, the latest a two-run shot to left, giving the Cardinals a 2-1 advantage in the third inning Sunday at Great American Ball Park.
Goldschmidt’s 28th of the season followed Tommy Edman’s second single of the game. Earlier in the inning, Reds shortstop Jose Iglesias had snatched a hit from Cardinals pitcher Jack Flaherty, leading to spear a line drive.
Eight of Goldschmidt’s homers have come against lefthanded pitching.
The Cardinals added a run to that lead in the fourth when Lane Thomas, like Edman a rookie, singled for the second time in succession to score Yadier Molina. Reds third baseman Eugenio Suarez had fired the ball high over first baseman Josh VanMeter’s head after fielding Molina’s routine grounder and Molina was waved to second when the ball went out of play.
FLAHERTY SCORELESS STREAK ENDS AT 23 2/3
Jack Flaherty carried the major leagues' longest active scoreless streak, 23 innings, into the finale of the Cardinals’ four-game series here Sunday against the Cincinnati Reds. He also had a scoreless streak of 11 1/3 innings against the Reds this season and 12 1/3 over two seasons.
The streak ended with two outs in the first inning when Reds third baseman Eugenio Suarez crushed a first-pitch Flaherty fastball for his 34th homer, a drive to deep left center, giving the Reds the game’s first lead at 1-0.
Cincinnati lefthander Alex Wood had struck out Matt Carpenter, Paul Goldschmidt and Marcell Ozuna in succession in the top of the first after Tommy Edman had singled.
Flaherty never has received more two runs of support in any of his six career starts against Cincinnati, thus accounting for his 1-2 record against them despite a 2.60 earned run average.
THOMAS, MUNOZ IN OUTFIELD
Flaherty, who 6-6 for the season, will have a mixed bag lineup as manager Mike Shildt rests outfielder Dexter Fowler and second baseman Kolten Wong against Reds lefthander Alex Wood. Tommy Edman will lead off and be at second, Lane Thomas in center field and Yairo Munoz, who had three hits on Saturday, in right field.
Manager Mike Shildt said the part of his reasoning was to give Fowler and Wong a break after a night game and keep them fresh for the long stretch run ahead.
“We’re going to need guys to grind as we get closer towards the end of the season. Every day is important but we feel like we’ve got the good matchups to give Dexter and Kolten a little breather," said Shildt.
Shildt said he has drawn on the experience of what manager Tony La Russa did when he managed the Cardinals and Oakland. La Russa’s mantra was to “give a day off before he absolutely needs it.
“If a guy is starting to wear down, (a) he’s not going to perform and (b) he’s more susceptible to injury,” said Shildt. “You want to stay ahead of it.”
The Cardinals have won eight of the first 14 meetings between the clubs, with four more slated for two weekends from now in St. Louis.
REYES NOT THROWING; GOMBER IS
Righthander Alex Reyes, who has missed much of the season again with injuries, no longer is on a throwing program, Shildt said. The manager said Reyes, who most recently had a torn pectoral muscle, was rehabbing at a facility that is not in either Memphis, to which Reyes had been assigned, or the Cardinals’ camp in Florida. ... Lefthander Austin Gomber, who missed a couple of months with a shoulder problem, threw a batting practice session in Jupiter on Saturday as he tries to pitch before the season is over.
1. Tommy Edman 2b
2. Matt Carpenter 3b
3. Paul Goldschmidt 1b
4. Marcell Ozuna lf
5. Paul DeJong ss
6. Yadier Molina c
7. Lane Thomas cf
8. Yairo Munoz rf
9. Jack Flaherty p
1. Nick Senzel cf
2. Josh VanMeter 1b
3. Eugenio Suarez 3b
4. Aristides Aquino rf
5. Freddy Galvis 2b
6. Phillip Ervin lf
7. Jose Iglesias ss
8. Kyle Farmer c
9. Alex Wood p