St. Louis Cardinals hit 2 HRs, beat Cincinnati Reds 3-1

8:39 AM, Apr 11, 2012   |    comments
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(The Cardinal Nation Show) -- The first-week formula of home runs and strong starting pitching (and relief, too) worked again for the Cardinals Tuesday night.

Right fielder Carlos Beltran and third baseman David Freese each hit his third homer of the season, with Freese's sixth-inning, two-run drive the difference in a 3-1 win at Cincinnati. Counting the one-game victory at Miami, the Cardinals have won all three of their series, all on the road, with one game remaining at Cincinnati.

In six games, the Cardinals have hit 11 homers, with four players having at least two.

With the Cardinals leading 1-0 in the sixth, Freese came to the plate with one out, needing only a sacrifice fly to plate an insurance run. He got that and more with an opposite-field homer.

"We're all pretty excited about where David has taken himself," said manager Mike Matheny. "He had the right philosophy going into that at-bat."

Freese, because of foot and hand injuries, never has played 100 games in a big-league season. "I think you're going to see a more complete player," Matheny said.

At the same time, the Cardinals' starters have posted six consecutive quality starts with right-hander Kyle Lohse working six innings of one-run, four-hit ball to gain his second win.

For his first 13 1/3 innings, Lohse has permitted only six hits and two runs.

Lohse, to the surprise still of many fans, was the top winner (14) and earned-run average leader (3.39) for the 2011 World Series champions.

"He's just building on that confidence he took from having a very strong season last year," said Matheny. "It was a big deal throwing that first game in Miami. He wanted that assignment. When (Chris) Carpenter went down, he was excited about that pressure."

Lohse said he wasn't as sharp as he was in the first game of the season but had a good changeup and slider.

After Lohse left, the bullpen let nothing happen. Right-hander Mitchell Boggs, suddenly emerging as the top setup man, worked two perfect innings, fanning two and right-hander Jason Motte knocked off a perfect ninth for his second save.

The Cardinals, winning for the second night in succession at Great American Ball Park, have won one more game than they won here all last season in six meetings with the Reds. They have held the hard-hitting Reds to two runs in two games.


Associated Press

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