McCoy: Surging Reds notch first four-game winning streak of season

Cincinnati tops Cardinals 3-1

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

The suddenly surging Cincinnati Reds wiped away another negative Monday afternoon against the sleepwalking St. Louis Cardinals.

When the Memorial Day game began in Great American Ball Park, the Reds were the only MLB team without a four-game winning streak.

Even last-place teams like the Chicago White Sox, Miami Marlins, Colorado Rockies, Toronto Blue Jays and Los Angeles Angels all owned at least one four-game or more winning streak.

The Reds took care of it with a 3-1 victory over the Cardinals, seemingly playing in slow motion after minimal sleep Sunday night.

After a 2 1/2-hour delay Sunday in St. Louis against the Chicago Cubs, the Cardinals didn’t arrive at their Cincinnati hotel util 4 a.m. Monday.

And they played like as they saw their five-game winning streak disappear. They also had won 10 of their previous 12.

They made two errors in the second inning that led to two unearned runs, all the Reds needed to tuck this one away.

Even with sleep, the Cardinals have played defense as if they owned asbestos hands. With Monday’s errors, they have made at least one in 12 straight games.

It started good for the Cardinals — a two-out home run by Paul Goldschmidt in the first off Reds starter Nick Lodolo.

Goldschmidt hit two home runs Sunday in a 4-3 win over the Cubs. And Monday’s blast into the left-field stands with his 20th career homer in GABP and 26th overall against the Reds.

That 1-0 lead last only until Jeimer Candelario came to bat for the Reds in the bottom of the first. Candelario crushed a two-out home run off Lance Lynn to tie it, 1-1.

It came apart for the Cardinals in the second and it began with an error by third baseman Nolan Arenado, considered this era’s equivalent to former defensive wizard Brooks Robinson of the Baltimore Orioles.

Nick Martinez grounded one to Arenado and he fumbled it. E-5.

Jonathan India singled and Will Benson singled to score Martini. Jacob Hurtubise ripped one off the glove of first baseman Goldschmidt, scoring India. E-3.

That made it 3-1 and that’s where it stayed thanks to Reds pitchers Lodolo, Fernando Cruz, Sam Moll and Lucas Sims.

Lodolo did not own his strikeout stuff, but kept the Cardinals deathly quiet — 5 1/3 innings, one run, five hits, no walks and only three strikeouts.

Then came the Cincinnati bullpen and it turned the Cardinals to a gang of Rip Van Winkles.

Cruz, Moll and Sims struck out eight of the last 10 Cardinals.

Cruz replaced Lodolo with one out in the fifth and struck out all five batters he faced with his unhittable disappearing split finger.

Moll took over in the eighth and went 1-2-3 with two strikeouts.

Because closer Alexis Diaz appeared in three of the last four games, Sims was handed the baseball for the save opportunity.

He went 1-2-3 with two strikeouts for his second save this season.

The game’s stars, Lodolo and Candelario, both were coming back from absences. Lodolo was on the 15-day injured list and missed two starts with a groin strain.

Candelario missed the last two games of the Dodgers series with a stiff neck and is making a strong offensive push after a slow start.

After his home run and the two unearned runs in the second, the Reds had only one hit over their final six innings, a single by Jake Fraley in the sixth.

They did draw three walks in the seventh inning, but Spencer Steer stranded all three on a line drive to center.

“You have to be able to contribute to the team and I was ready ... ready and aggressive in the strike zone,” said Candelario, talking about his game-tying home run in a post-game interview with Bally Sports Ohio. “If I’m aggressive in the strike zone, man, I can make stuff happen.”

Of his resurgence from a slow start, Candelario said, “It’s close, it’s close. We have to get some more reps, keep going, be consistent. That’s what we need right now.

“Man, the guys are playing the right way, playing it our way. It is going to continue and it’s going to click for everybody,” he added.

His home run was big, but Candelario knows this one belongs to the pitchers.

“Those starters and those relievers ... they’re setting the tone,” he said. “They’re serious, man. They’re warriors, working really hard and they’re making stuff happen.”

After a good night’s sleep, the Cardinals return to GABP Tuesday night, hoping to be wide awake against a Cincinnati team that suddenly means business.

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