ST. LOUIS (AP) — Tony Cingrani’s second straight start against the Cardinals was nothing like the first.
Cincinnati’s young left-hander quickly fell behind by three runs and lasted just four innings in a 5-3 loss to Michael Wacha and the St. Louis Cardinals in their home opener Monday.
“The difference was stuff and command,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “Tony was electric in his last start, he had great stuff, including a breaking ball that was more reliable than it was today.
“And he wasn’t down 3-0 in the first — that certainly can affect your intensity.”
The Cardinals altered their game plan with more patient at-bats, and the 24-year-old lefty might have been bothered, especially early, by the adverse weather conditions.
“The baseball was slippery,” catcher Brayan Pena said. “He’s a competitor and he won’t make excuses but I know that was one of the reasons that he couldn’t throw his breaking ball.”
Cingrani (0-1) allowed two hits over seven innings last week in Cincinnati’s 1-0 victory against St. Louis. He gave up three hits and a walk to the first five hitters Monday, the big hit a three-run double by Yadier Molina.
“I had no fastball. I was trying to throw other things in there,” Cingrani said. “Made too many mistakes.”
The Reds didn’t have a lot to show for 10 hits and have totaled 18 runs in seven games.
“We’re running our guys out there,” Price said. “The core guys, these are the guys that when the season is over, they’re going to have their numbers.”
A standing-room crowd of 47,492, the largest at 9-year-old Busch Stadium, braved daylong rain and temperatures in the 40s to greet the National League champions and take a look at the new Ballpark Village. Hundreds milled about the attached complex, which features five sports bars and rooftop seating.
The Cardinals went 1 for 18 after Molina’s hit before adding RBIs from Matt Holliday and Allen Craig off Trevor Bell in a two-run seventh.
St. Louis ended a three-game losing streak on opening day, including a blowout loss to the Reds last year.
The 22-year-old Wacha (1-0) hadn’t allowed a run in 21 career innings against the Reds before back-to-back doubles by Pena and pinch-hitter Roger Bernadina in the fifth cut the Cardinals’ lead to 3-1.
The NL championship series MVP benefited from two double-play balls in six stingy innings and has permitted one run in 13 2-3 innings his first two starts.
Cingrani needed 31 pitches to get through the first and finished with five strikeouts and four walks. Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said before the game that his hitters had been a “click off” with timing against Cingrani the first time and should benefit from another chance so soon.
Peter Bourjos moved up to second in the order and got his first two hits of the season after an 0-for-13 start. Craig got his third hit and third RBI of the season after entering 2 for 22.
Seeing Wacha once again didn’t do the Reds any good.
The start of the game was delayed 12 minutes after the inclement weather combined with pregame ceremonies that featured the traditional grand entrance with players, coaches and Hall of Famers touring Busch Stadium on the back of convertibles and trucks. A team of Clydesdales was kept in the stable due to concerns the field might be damaged.
Billy Hamilton doubled to start the game and the Reds put the leadoff man on base in the first four innings but were undone by two double plays.
Zack Cozart broke an 0-for-22 slump to start the season with a bloop RBI single, and pinch-hitter Neftali Soto had a sacrifice fly for his first career RBI in the ninth against St. Louis closer Trevor Rosenthal.