Game 1: Cardinals 1, Reds 0

Posted by Scott Wuerz on March 31, 2014 

The St. Louis Cardinals didn't get much help from their new players in their season opener at Cincinnati.

Fortunately the old favorites were more than capable.

Adam Wainwright threw seven shutout innings, allowing only three hits while striking out nine to earn his first win of the year. Meanwhile catcher Yadier Molina made a pair of key plays to field ground balls just in front of the plate before they could go foul to keep the Reds off the board. Then in the seventh Molina belted a solo homer to left to provide the Cardinals with the winning margin.

The only time Cincinnati seriously threatened came in the bottom of the eighth when Pat Neshek walked the first batter he faced as a Cardinal. Manager Mike Matheny brought in Kevin Siegrist who got a double play ball to newly installed starting second sacker Kolten Wong. But the ball went through Wong and put runners on the corners with no outs. The run was kept off the board when Matt Adams made a heads-up play on a grounder to first base and threw it home to cut down Brandon Phillips.

Carlos Martinez, who changed his number from 62 to 44 in time for the opener, got a double play ball with two on and one out. But while Wong made the play on his second opportunity, Adams dropped a chest-high relay throw to keep the inning alive. Martinez kept it together and struck out Todd Frazier to put an end to the threat.

It was a moment that if it happened last season might have caused Martinez to melt down. But he kept his composure and took charge of the situation to show why the Cardinals valued him as a set-up guy despite his abilities as a starter.

Trever Rosenthal struck out the first two hitters he faced in the ninth and then got a lazy fly to end the game.

• Molina and Adams each had two of the five Redbirds hits. Both of Adams' were opposite field safeties with the Reds playing an exaggerated shift against him.
• Wainwright issued an uncharacteristic four walks in the game. In 2013 he didn't walk his eighth batter until his eighth start. The most he walked in a game the entire season was three.

• The Cardinals, seemingly unstoppable with runners in scoring position last season, stranded 11 runners on base.
• Johnny Cueto allowed one run on three hits over seven innings while striking out eight Redbirds... But took the loss.
Cardinals Star of the Game: Molina
Play of the Game: Pick any of the previously mentioned plays by Molina. But I will go with the homer, since it was the only run scored in the contest.
Lowlight: The Cardinals made three errors, Bourjos dropped a fly ball, Wong missed a grounder and Adams dropped a throw.
 

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