The Cincinnati Reds are on a tear at the plate, and the St. Louis Cardinals got a first-hand look in their home opener - especially in the ninth inning.
Shin-Soo Choo, Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce look to continue their hot hitting Tuesday night when the Reds try to win the first two games of a series at Busch Stadium for the first time in almost seven years.
Cincinnati (5-2) has won five of six after being held to three hits in a season-opening 3-1 defeat to the Los Angeles Angels on April 1.
The Reds aren't having much trouble at the plate lately, batting .343 with 11 doubles and eight homers over the past four games while outscoring opponents 40-14.
They turned in another big offensive performance Monday, collecting 14 hits with six coming in a nine-run ninth inning to power a 13-4 win over St. Louis (3-4).
Cincinnati will now try to open a series there with back-to-back wins for the first time since sweeping a three-game set June 5-7, 2006.
Choo, Phillips and Bruce may have a say in that.
Choo has flourished in the leadoff spot in his first season with the Reds, hitting .379 with three homers, six RBIs and 10 runs. He got one of his two hits Monday in the ninth, connecting for a three-run double. That helped atone for his pair of embarrassing run-scoring errors earlier in the contest.
"I almost died and my teammates gave me another life," Choo said. "I really appreciate my teammates, coming over to me and saying everybody makes mistakes.
"I missed two fly balls and in my mind I had to do something to help the team."
Phillips has helped quite a bit as well, posting his fifth straight two-hit game Monday with a homer and an RBI double. He's hit .383 in his last 11 games against the Cardinals. Phillips is batting .407 with two homers, four doubles and seven RBIs over the past six games overall.
Bruce, meanwhile, has gone 10 for 21 with three doubles and five RBIs in the last four games after accumulating four singles while driving in a run Monday. The right fielder had one hit over the first three games of the season.
The Reds are scheduled to turn to Bronson Arroyo , who won his season debut Thursday as he allowed three runs and eight hits in six innings of a 5-4 win over the Angels.
"My command was there, I felt like I kept a good tempo of the game," Arroyo told the team's official website.
The veteran right-hander is 1-4 with a 6.12 ERA in his last eight starts at St. Louis.
Matt Holliday , who scored both runs on Choo's errors Monday, has pounded Arroyo over the past three seasons, hitting .375 with three doubles and three homers.
The left fielder has a .356 average against the Reds since joining St. Louis in 2009, and he's hitting .439 with nine RBIs in the past 10 meetings.
Holliday now looks for a big day to back Lance Lynn , who will try to bounce back from a poor performance in his first start. The right-hander was tagged for four runs and six hits with three walks in four innings while not getting a decision in a 10-9 loss at Arizona on Wednesday.
It was Lynn's first regular-season appearance after dropping 40 pounds in an effort to improve his durability after struggling at times as a rookie last year, despite winning 18 games.
Lynn was awful in his only start against Cincinnati on Aug. 24, surrendering four runs and six hits in two innings of an 8-5 win.
|April 02, 2013||Ryan Ludwick||Day-to-Day||Torn cartilage in right shoulder|
|April 02, 2013||Ryan Ludwick||15-Day DL||Torn cartilage in right shoulder|
|March 22, 2013||Nick Masset||15-Day DL||Recovery from right shoulder surgery|
|St. Louis Cardinals|
|March 24, 2013||Rafael Furcal||15-Day DL||Right elbow surgery - out for season|
|March 23, 2013||David Freese||15-Day DL||Strained lower back|
|March 23, 2013||David Freese||15-Day DL||Strained lower back|
|March 22, 2013||Jason Motte||15-Day DL||Strained right elbow|
|March 07, 2013||Rafael Furcal||Day-to-Day||Right elbow surgery - out for season|
|February 22, 2013||Chris Carpenter||60-Day DL||Nerve irritation, right shoulder|
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Mitchell Boggs watched TV with his wife and played with the dog, anything to get his mind off an inept outing in the St. Louis Cardinals' home opener. It can't be understated how happy the right-hander was to get right back on the mound.
A day after the stand-in closer was the goat of the Reds' nine-run ninth inning, Boggs retired Cincinnati in order to close out a 5-1 victory Tuesday night.
"Anybody who's gone through it knows how important it is to get back out there quick," Boggs said. "It was a big outing for me, I'm not going to dance around it. I'm not going to act like I didn't care."
Before the game, Boggs found out the Cardinals might need a long-term solution in the ninth inning. They'll decide at the beginning of May whether closer Jason Motte , who has a strained right elbow, will require reconstructive surgery.
Motte is optimistic after a second MRI exam Tuesday showed some improvement.
"I'm not doing anything more to hurt it, so it's kind of out of my hands, honestly," Motte said. "We're doing everything we can to get it better."
Cardinals rookie Trevor Rosenthal also had a strong outing, allowing a hit in the eighth one night after giving up the tying run.
"I know Mitchell was especially eager to get back on the mound, and I think it worked out well," manager Mike Matheny said. "He and Trevor both threw the ball exceptionally well."
Lance Lynn struck out 10 in six sharp innings and rookie Matt Adams connected for his first career pinch-hit homer off a slow curveball from Bronson Arroyo .
"He was throwing the majority off-speed the whole game and with the tying run at third I had a pretty good idea I was going to get an off-speed pitch sometime during that at-bat," Adams said. "You don't want to roll over it and not get the job done."
Arroyo (1-1) retired his first 15 batters. The Cardinals broke through in the sixth, with Adams hitting a two-run homer and Allen Craig and Carlos Beltran also driving in runs.
"To be honest, I hate being in ballgames when you've got a no-hitter and you're only winning 1-0," Arroyo said. "I feel like the guy with the no-no loses. I've seen it happen so many times it's ridiculous."
Brandon Phillips had a sacrifice fly and Shin-Soo Choo had two hits for Cincinnati. The Reds were held to five hits, ending a run of four consecutive games with double-figure hit totals. Choo has four straight two-hit games.
Jake Westbrook (0-1) opposes Homer Bailey (1-0) in the finale of the three-game series on Wednesday. The defending NL Central champion Reds are just 3-22-2 in 27 series in St. Louis since the start of the 2003 season and are trying for their first series win at Busch Stadium since Sept. 2-4, 2011.
Lynn (1-0) retired the first 10 batters with seven strikeouts before the Reds scratched out a run in the fourth on consecutive one-hit singles from Zack Cozart and Joey Votto and Phillips' sacrifice fly. Left fielder Matt Holliday made a sliding catch on the warning track in left-center to limit the damage to a run.
"It was a great play," Matheny said. "He covered as much ground as I've probably ever seen him cover. That really could have turned ugly for us."
Lynn, who gave up four runs in four innings in his first start at Arizona, said the difference was simple: "Less walks, more strikes, less barrels, less hits."
Arroyo needed just 63 pitches to get through five, keeping the Cardinals guessing with his assortment of off-speed pitches. Right fielder Jay Bruce 's sliding catch robbed Yadier Molina of a hit to end the fifth, but Arroyo allowed hits to four of the first five batters in the sixth.
"He just started getting balls up and it happened so quickly," manager Dusty Baker said. "They were like boom, bat, boom.
"That's how they can do it. That was a disaster inning."
Daniel Descalso doubled on an 0-1 pitch to open the inning, making him 8 for 19 against Arroyo, and advanced on a groundout before Adams' shot over the wall in right-center on a slow curveball. The Cardinals had three more hits and an intentional walk in the inning, getting an RBI groundout from Craig and a run-scoring single from Beltran.
St. Louis might have missed a chance for even more when Matt Carpenter retreated a few steps to third on Beltran's liner to center, causing Holliday to slow trying to score from second, and Choo's strong throw caught Holliday at the plate for the third out.
Arroyo is 8-14 with a 4.60 ERA in his career against the Cardinals and 3-7 with a 5.46 ERA in 15 starts at 8-year-old Busch Stadium.
NOTES: Derrick Robinson made his first career start for the Reds and played LF, going 1 for 3 with two strikeouts.