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Reds’ Ludwick feeling ‘better and better’ after another big day at plate

Reds left fielder Ryan Ludwick’s 4-year-old son Stetson showed how well he knows his dad’s teammates after a 7-2 win over the Cardinals on Monday at Great American Ball Park.

“Who is that?” Ludwick asked in the clubhouse.

“That’s Ryan Hanna-again,” Stetson said.

Todd Frazier’s name was a little easier. Stetson nailed that one. He then played with Frazier as his dad gave an interview about another solid day at the plate.

Ludwick went 2-for-5 with a double and an RBI. His two-out single scored Shin-Soo Choo with the Reds’ first run in the first inning. Ludwick then made a diving catch to end the second inning.

The Ludwick the Reds hoped they were getting when he returned from the disabled list Aug. 9 is the Ludwick they are seeing now. He was hitting .167 after his first eight starts and has raised his average to .271.

In the eighth, Ludwick showed again that his bat is back, lining out hard to right with the bases loaded.

“I’m feeling better and better,” he said. “Anytime you see me hit the ball the other way like that, it’s a positive sign.”

Reds manager Dusty Baker doesn’t think Ludwick is 100 percent, but he’s getting there. He told Ludwick it would take 100 at-bats after he missed the first four months of the season with a shoulder injury. Ludwick’s had 59 at-bats so far.

“Luddy gives the lineup stability,” Baker said. “He’s right there in the middle of the order. You know he wants to be up there with runners in scoring position. He thrives on it. There are certain guys who thrive on it. Plus he brings a certain attitude to the lineup and the team.”

Beating Wainwright: The Reds have won two games in a row against St. Louis for the first time this season, and they did it by beating the Cardinals’ ace, Adam Wainwright, for the second time in six days.

Wainwright is 1-3 with a 7.77 ERA against the Reds this season. Against everybody else, he’s 14-6 with a 2.58 ERA.

Wainwright gave up nine earned runs in two innings against the Reds on Wednesday in St. Louis and six earned runs in the first four innings Monday.

“I think we’ve gotten some pitches to hit the last two outings,” Ludwick said. “We’ve done damage with them. He’s pretty good. We all know that. To beat their ace is huge.”

Roster moves: The Reds designated for assignment reliever Pedro Villarreal to make room for outfielder Billy Hamilton on the 40-man roster. Villarreal cleared waivers and was sent to Triple-A Louisville.

They also reinstated catcher Corky Miller from the disabled list and recalled infielder Neftali Soto from Louisville.

Reliever Curtis Partch, infielder Henry Rodriguez and outfielder Derrick Robinson were recalled from Louisville on Sunday as rosters expanded in September. Hamilton is the only first-time big leaguer among the September call-ups.

Looking ahead: Homer Bailey, who threw 7 1/3 scoreless innings against the Cardinals on Wednesday, starts tonight for the Reds in the second game of the series.

The Cardinals counter with Michael Wacha, who will make his fifth career start and first against the Reds. Wacha threw four scoreless innings of relief against the Reds on Wednesday when Wainwright exited after two innings.

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