Brandon Finnegan’s streak of inactivity ended, but the Cincinnati Reds run of inability continued Saturday afternoon before a drizzle-drenched crowd of 19,213 at Great American Ball Park.
Pitching for the first time since June 26 last year, Finnegan allowed five runs on six hits and four walks on his 25th birthday as the Reds dropped their seventh consecutive game by falling to the St. Louis Cardinals 6-1.
“It wasn’t real sharp. He had a hard time getting things going,” Reds manager Bryan Price said of Finnegan. ” I was hoping he would be a little more sharp and command the zone a little bit better and be able to pitch off his slide-step delivery. But he looked healthy and had three pitches up around the plate. I would anticipate things getting better each time.”
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Finnegan, who suffered injuries to both shoulders last season, walked the first two batters he faced and the final one, exiting after 4 1/3 innings.
St. Louis No. 8 hitter Greg Garcia hit his first two home runs of the season as part of a 3-for-4 afternoon that also included a double. Garcia launched a two-out solo shot in the second inning for a 2-0 lead and hit a two-out, two-run blast in the fourth that upped the advantage to 4-0.
“I thought I threw the ball pretty well besides the first two batters,” Finnegan said. “I definitely had a lot of jitters going. I thought I made a lot of good pitches, just two bad ones and they both got hit out. That’s the life of playing in Great American Ball Park. Sometimes when you make mistakes they’re going to capitalize on them, and he did on both of those.”
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After Tommy Pham led off the St. Louis fifth with a soft single, Jose Martinez added a run-scoring bloop double and Finnegan walked the next batter, Marcell Ozuna, prompting Reds manager Bryan Price to go to his bullpen.
“Everything that can go against right now is going against us,” Finnegan said. “It seems like everybody else is getting real lucky against us. All their weak hits are finding a hole and ours aren’t. Nobody really hit the ball hard except for those two home runs.”
Austin Brice gave up one run in 1 2/3 innings before Dylan Floro came on to make his Reds debut with a perfect seventh and eighth. Floro was the 17th pitcher the Reds have used this season.
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The Cincinnati offense continued its struggles, collecting just three hits against St. Louis starter Miles Mikolas, who is back in the majors after three seasons in Japan.
Mikolas (2-0) struck out four and walked two in seven innings, with Tucker Barnhart doing the only damage with his second home run of the season in the fifth. Scooter Gennett added a pair of singles off Mikolas to extend his GABP hitting streak to 15 games, which is tied for the fifth longest since the park opened in 2003.
Gennett delivered a third single leading off the ninth, but the Reds left the bases loaded as the Reds fell to to 2-12, their worst 14-game start to a season since 1931, when they finished 58-96.
“It’s a tough spot to be in,” Price said. “In the same respect, you have to deal with it. We’re all adults. We’re all getting paid to do a job and that job is to go out there and do the best of our ability and perform and stay together and show some spirit, some heart, some integrity in the way we go about our business.
“We will continue to push it and continue to strive to get better every day and put a better product on the field, a better performance,” he added. “All you can do is just go out there and grind it out every day and work toward turning it around.”
The Reds will try to snap their losing streak Sunday against the Cardinals when Homer Bailey takes the mound against Carlos Martinez in a 1:10 p.m. start.