St. Louis, MO (SportsNetwork.com) - John Lackey hasn't been at his best since
a trade deadline deal brought him to St. Louis, but on Friday he helped the
Cardinals pitching staff accomplish something it hadn't done in 100 years.
Lackey became the eighth straight starter to allow one earned run or less in
five innings or more, as St. Louis topped the Cincinnati Reds, 2-1, in the
opener of a three-game series.
The streak began one night after Lackey was charged with two runs on four hits
in just two innings in Cincinnati on Sept. 10. The Reds took three of four
from St. Louis in that series.
Since then, Adam Wainwright, Lance Lynn and Shelby Miller have each taken the
hill twice and Marco Gonzales started once. The Cardinals have won six of
seven after this victory.
Lackey (3-2) pitched 7 2/3 strong innings, yielding just a run on six hits
with five strikeouts. Sam Freeman finished the eighth, but Trevor Rosenthal
couldn't get through the ninth. Rosenthal walked Todd Frazier and gave up a
bloop single to Brandon Phillips, departing with one out and runners on the
Southpaw Randy Choate came in to face the lefty Jay Bruce, and the veteran did
his job, striking out Bruce on a 3-2 slider. Seth Maness posted the save by
getting Ryan Ludwick to fly out to center.
"I think there is definitely skill in winning tight games," Lackey said. "This
team has it."
Randall Grichuk and Matt Holliday hit back-to-back home runs in the first
inning to account for both Cardinals runs. It was the first time that St.
Louis went back-to-back in the first inning this season.
The Reds got a run back in the top of the second. Devin Mesoraco led off with
a single, Jay Bruce reached with a base knock to left and with two outs, Zack
Cosart singled to center. Mesoraco scored easily, and Yadier Molina's relay to
second was in time to nab Cosart and end the inning. Cincinnati challenged the
call, but it was upheld.
"It's a broken record, we're just not scoring enough runs," said Reds manager
Lackey got some help from his center fielder, Jon Jay. Prior to Cosart's RBI
single, Ludwick drove one to deep center and Jay was there to make a leaping
catch at the wall. Then in the fifth inning, Ludwick flew to the warning track
again and Jay robbed him for a second time.
Cincinnati starter David Holmberg (1-2) took the hard-luck loss after serving
up both home runs. He pitched six innings, giving up just three more hits and
three walks the rest of the way.
The Cardinals are now 2 1/2 games ahead of Pittsburgh for first place in the
National League Central ... Lackey had allowed a home run in five straight
outings ... The Reds have scored four runs during a five-game losing skid ...
Cincinnati has lost 16 of its last 18 games away from home.