MLB: At Reds, Cardinals seek fifth straight series win

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The St. Louis Cardinals hope a power display from one of their stars on Tuesday night is a sign of good things to come as they close out a three-game series against the host Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday.

Nolan Arenado homered for the first time in 12 games and for just the fourth time this season, a two-run long ball in the fourth inning that put the Cardinals up 3-0.

St. Louis went on to beat the Reds 7-1 and enters Wednesday’s rubber match with a chance to win its fifth straight series.

On Monday, Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol dropped Arenado to the No. 5 spot in the batting order for the first time in Arenado’s four-year career in St. Louis. It was also the first time since 2015 that Arenado batted fifth — he was with the Colorado Rockies at the time.

Arenado went 0-for-4 with a strikeout in the 3-1 loss to the Reds but responded with the two-run homer on Tuesday.

“Nolan has been working hard, man,” Marmol said. “That’s an understatement. He’s been getting after it — and sometimes it takes a while. He’s talked about it. It was good to see him do that (Tuesday).”

The Cardinals, looking for their seventh win in eight games, will send reliever Andre Pallante (0-1, 6.30 ERA) to the mound as an opener on Wednesday. He will be making his 11th career start and his first since July 31, 2022.

In nine relief appearances this season, the right-hander has allowed eight runs (seven earned) on 14 hits over 10 innings.

Pallante is 3-0 with a 1.96 ERA in 12 career appearances (two starts) against Cincinnati.

The Reds will counter with right-hander Frankie Montas (2-3, 4.61), who will be making his 10th start of the year. Montas was charged with four runs on nine hits over six innings in his latest start, which came last Thursday against the San Diego Padres. In that outing, Montas took a no-decision in Cincinnati’s 6-4 loss in 10 innings.

Montas is experiencing a streak of seven straight starts without a win, a rut that started with a loss to the Milwaukee Brewers on April 9.

Montas will be making only his second career start against St. Louis. As a member of the New York Yankees, Montas allowed six runs on five hits over just three innings on Aug. 7, 2022, as the Cardinals rolled to a 12-9 win.

The Reds could be getting an injured player back on Wednesday, as TJ Friedl has been taking live batting practice, running the bases and throwing from the outfield to test out his left thumb. The thumb was fractured on May 12 in San Francisco, and Friedl went on the injured list the next day.

One of the players who has filled in for Friedl in center field has been Will Benson. It was Benson who opened the bottom of the sixth inning on Tuesday, providing the Reds’ only offense with a solo homer to right off right-hander Kyle Gibson.

It also proved to be Cincinnati’s first hit off Gibson.

“We feel like we can compete with anybody out there. But at the same time, it was some tough at-bats,” Reds manager David Bell said. “(Gibson) was hitting his spots with all of those different pitches and had the ability to throw them where he wanted. The good news is it’s not going to be that tough every game.”

–Field Level Media

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