ST. LOUIS (AP)John Gant earned his first victory as a starter since 2018 by throwing six strong innings and the St. Louis Cardinals sent the Cincinnati Reds to their sixth straight loss, 2-0 on a rainy Saturday.
Andrew Knizner, subbing for injured catcher Yadier Molina, and Nolan Arenado each drove in a run. Dylan Carlson added three singles as St. Louis won a series for just the second time this season.
After waiting out a rain delay of 2 hours, 20 minutes before throwing his first pitch, Gant (1-2) allowed just three hits.
”It was just a dominating, outstanding performance by Gant,” Knizner said. ”I thought he pitched an excellent game. He let his stuff play.”
Gant struck out five and walked two in his fourth start of the season.
”I’m just trying to go out there and throw strikes and put the team in the best situation possible to be able to win the ballgame,” Gant said. ”That’s a starting pitcher’s job – holding the score close and give your team a chance to shake hands at the end of the game.”
It was Gant’s first win as a starting pitcher since Sept. 9, 2018, at Detroit. He had won 11 games in relief since then.
”I love playing this game. I love being out there,” Gant said. ”I kind of lose myself every time I’m out there. I can’t say enough about the defense. There were a lot of balls put in play and almost every one was gloved down. I’m glad we got the game in, too.”
Genesis Cabrera pitched the seventh, and Giovanny Gallegos finished the three-hitter for his first save.
”We’ve got a good bullpen, a deep bullpen,” St. Louis manager Mike Shildt said. ”We pass the ball around. They threw the ball very, very well.”
The Reds lost for the eighth time in 10 games. Wade Miley (2-2) gave up two runs on five hits in six innings.
”Obviously, we’re aware of our record and what’s happened the last six games,” Cincinnati manager David Bell said. ”We go out and compete the next day. There’s no shortcuts to it. I wish there was an easy way out but there never is. It’s just April 24. We have a long, long way to go. That’s just a fact and it’s a good thing.”
Arenado hit an RBI single in the first.
The Cardinals added a run in the sixth when Knizner doubled off the left-field wall.
Knizner just missed a home run as his ball just missed clearing the fence.
”I thought I got enough,” Knizner said. ”I’ll have to get with our strength coach and hit the weight room a little bit harder tomorrow and see if I can get a little more pop in my bat and get that thing over the wall next time,”
Reds CF Tyler Naquin turned 30 on Saturday.
Reds: INF Mike Moustakas, who hasn’t played since April 14, continues to recover from a non-COVID-19-related illness that has kept him on the 10-day injured list retroactive on April 20. ”I’ve had a viral infection,” Moustakas said. ”I don’t want to get into too much detail. It was bad and I wasn’t feeling good at all. I wasn’t able to fight through it so I got put on the IL. Last couple of days, I’ve been feeling a lot better. The cure for me was just time.”
Moustakas, who is hitting .289, said he could return next week. He will be eligible to return from the IL on April 27.
Cardinals: Molina exited after batting in the fifth inning Friday because of soreness in his right foot. Molina had raised his batting average to .339 after he homered and doubled. ”I talked to him. He may be the toughest man alive and he said `I can play.’ I’m not too worried about it,” Shildt said before the game.
Reds: RHP Luis Castillo (1-1, 6.05) will make his team-high fifth start of the season. He lost to St. Louis in season opener in Cincinnati. He is six strikeouts shy of 600 for his career.
Cardinals: RHP Jack Flaherty (3-0, 3.80) had a no-decision in his opening day start at Cincinnati. The Cardinals have won in each of his first four starts this season, averaging 11 runs per game.
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