Spencer Steer had a career-high four hits and drove in two while fellow rookie Matt McLain homered again to lead the Cincinnati Reds to a 10-3 rout of the visiting St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday night.
The Reds, who rapped out a season-high 18 hits, finally managed to solve St. Louis starter and loser Steven Matz (0-6), who had been 4-0 with a 2.92 ERA in five appearances (four starts) against Cincinnati.
The key for Cincinnati was getting to Matz early and often, scoring four times in the first inning. Tyler Stephenson’s two-run single put the Reds up 2-0, then three batters later, Kevin Newman doubled the lead with a two-run double.
Cincinnati right-hander Ben Lively (2-2) earned his first win as a starter since Sept. 29, 2017, when he was pitching for Philadelphia against the New York Mets. On Wednesday, Lively limited the Cardinals to a pair of solo home runs over six solid innings. Lively went six innings for the first time since April 2018 with the Phillies and matched a career high with eight strikeouts.
It was just the ninth quality start by a Cincinnati pitcher in 2023, and first since May 2.
Making his 10th start, the winless Matz was tagged for six runs on 11 hits over four innings.
Brendan Donovan hit Lively’s first pitch of the fourth inning deep to the seats in right for his fourth homer of the season, cutting Cincinnati’s advantage to 5-1.
But the Reds got a contribution from a rookie prospect and a fluke from an opposing fielder to restore the five-run lead in the bottom of the inning.
McLain hit his second big-league homer in as many nights, thanks to some assistance from Cardinals right fielder Oscar Mercado.
Mercado drifted to the warning track with his back to the right-field wall. When he leaped to make the catch, the ball popped out of his glove and into the first row of seats to give the Reds a 6-1 lead.
Lars Nootbaar belted his fourth homer of the season off Lively in the fifth to cut the deficit to 6-2.
Right-handed reliever Eduardo Salazar made his Major League debut for Cincinnati in the ninth, allowing one run on two hits.
–Field Level Media