Eugenio Suarez homered for the third straight game, Tucker Barnhart added a two-run shot and the Cincinnati Reds picked up a 7-3 win over the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday in the rubber game. Adam Duvall also homered for the Reds. Paul DeJong and Yadier Molina homered for St. Louis.
The turning point in the game came in the top of the sixth inning. Yairo Munoz doubled home Dexter Fowler and easily advanced to third after a wild throw home and the Cardinals trailing 3-2. Harrison Bader went down swinging to bring up starting pitcher Jack Flaherty and manager Mike Shildt elected to go with a pinch hitter. Tommy Pham grounded one up the middle that was barehanded by reliever David Hernandez to end the threat.
Shildt turned the game over to John Gant who has been solid out of the pen. He held Cincinnati scoreless over four innings back on July 15th and pitched five scoreless against the Cubs on the 21st. However, Gant gave up a leadoff single to Scooter Gennett and a walk to Joey Votto. After a double play, it looked like he might escape, but Barnhart took Gant deep extending the Reds lead to 5-3.
Flaherty (4-5) allowed three runs, four hits, two walks with eight strikeouts in five innings. He left after 81 pitches and only 43 thrown for strikes.
I don’t really have an issue with the decision since Flaherty would have faced Votto and Eugenio Suarez (who homered in the first) a third time. Shildt probably gets just one more inning out of Flaherty, plus the Cardinals had the tying run on third base. Difficult move to leave a pitcher in with a potential run 90-feet away after the fifth inning.
Shildt made the right move…it didn’t work out.