The Cincinnati Reds probably fled St. Louis on Sunday night without packing half their gear — they just wanted to out of town as quickly as possible.
Mike Leake pitched masterfully and absorbed a defeat because the Cincinnati Reds can’t find a way to score runs.
It was probably their bats they left behind.
Of course, St. Louis starter Adam Wainwright had a lot to do with the Reds not scoring runs, but Leake actually outpitched him in the 2-1 loss that completed a three-game Cardinals sweep.
Leake pitched eight innings and gave up two runs on only four hits without a walk and at one point retired 15 straight Cardinals.
Wainwright also pitched eight innings and gave up one run and seven hits, but got the victory.
It looked as if Leake wouldn’t last long in this one when the Cardinals hit four bullets in the first inning. But they scored only one run, a leadoff home run by Matt Carpenter, a guy the Reds can’t seem to get out.
The Reds tied it, 1-1, on Joey Votto’s two-out single, a walk to Todd Frazier and a bloop single to right.
From there, Leake and Wainwright settled into a monotonous string of outs.
The Reds finally threatened to do something in the top of the eighth, but they really started with two outs. They filled the bases on singles by Todd Frazier and Brandon Phillips and a walk to Jay Bruce.
But Zack Cozart swung at the first pitch and grounded to second base for an inning-ending force at second base.
The Cardinals scored their winning run in the bottom of the eighth when Jon Jay led the inning with a double to right center. With the infield in, expecting a bunt, Yadier Molina grounded to third. But Frazier was playing in and couldn’t stop Jay from taking third and had to throw to first to get Molina.
Kolten Wong lined a long drive to left field and Jay scored after the catch for a 2-1 lead.
The Reds threatened in the ninth when Brennan Boesch singled off first baseman Matt Adams’ glove. Tucker Barnhart, asked to bunt, couldn’t get it down and struck out.
But Boesch stole second, putting the tying run in scoring position with one out. Pinch-hitter Brayan Pena popped on the first pitch and it ended with Skip Schumaker grounding out to first.
So the Reds limp into Milwaukee, a team that is 2-10, having lost seven of their last eight after winning their first four.
Schumaker was playing left field in place of slump-shrouded Marlon Byrd. Boesch was playing center field for Billy Hamilton, who strained his groin leaping over first baseman Matt Adams during Saturday’s 5-2 loss.
Manager Bryan Price said before the game that Hamilton could play, but he must not have been healthy enough to pinch-run in the ninth inning when he could have represented the tying run.
And while Price says Devin Mesoraco is healthy enough to pinch-hit, but can’t yet catch, Mesoraco was not used as a pinch-hitter in the ninth inning.