'Very fitting': Molina leads Cards past Reds in home opener

News-DemocratApril 7, 2014 

Michael Wacha describes the atmosphere at Busch Stadium on Monday.

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Yadier Molina had a three-run double and Matt Holliday and Allen Craig added RBI hits as the St. Louis Cardinals defeated Cincinnati 5-3 in the home opener Monday.

Molina cleared the bases with his two-base hit in the first, following singles by Matt Carpenter and Peter Bourjos, and a walk to Matt Holliday.

"It’s very fitting that Yadi was the guy that got us going right there," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "That was a huge momentum shift there in the first inning."

Boujos and Holliday hit back-to-back doubles in the seventh to add the Cards' fourth run, and Craig then singled home Holliday to make it 5-1.

Cardinals starter Michael Wacha (1-0) allowed the leadoff hitter to reach in each of the first four innings, but used two double-play grounders and a pulled-in infield to escape any damage.

"The double plays, they got us out of some tough spots," Matheny said. "He just seemed to make the right pitches as the right times. when he had to."

Wacha worked around a leadoff single by Billy Hamilton in the first inning and a leadoff single by ex-Card Ryan Ludwick in the second. Hamilton was caught straying off third on a one-out grounder to second by Joe Votto, and Ludwick was erased on a one-out double-play grounder by Zach Cozart.

Wacha also surrendered a leadoff single by Brayan Pena in the third, and a leadoff walk to Joey Votto in the fourth. But Pena was wiped out on a double-play grounder by Brandon Phillips, and Votteo was stranded when Wacha retired the next three hitters.

The Reds cut the lead by thirds on back-to-back one-out dobles by Brayan Pena and Roger Bernadina in the fifth -- the first inning in which Wacha retired the leadoff hitter.

Wacha, lifted for a pinch-hitter in the sixth, gave up one run on seven hits in six innings, with three strikeouts.

Trevor Roseenthal gave up two runs on two hits and two walks in the ninth, making the final 5-3 before a Busch Stadium III record crowd of 47,492.

“Every time you you’ve got the opportunity to be here in this city and be part of Opening Day, it’s amazing,” Molina said. “It never gets old. It’s awesome.”

The six living Cardinal Hall of Famers -- and one about to join their group -- highlighted the pregame ceremonies for the team's home opener.

Tony La Russa -- set to enter Cooperstown this summer -- was joined in the convertible cavalcade by Red Schoendienst, Lou Brock, Bob Gibson, Bruce Sutter, Whitey Herzo and Ozzie Smith.

The seven men -- in matching Cardinal red sportscoats -- stood under umbrellas as the Cardinals players and manager Mike Matheny were introduced in a convertible caravan of their own.

One casualty of the rains: No Clydesdales for the pregame ceremonies, due to the wet conditions on the field.

The game started 12 minutes late, at 3:27 p.m., though there was no official rain delay. Gametime temperature was 49 degrees, with a light rain falling.

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