CINCINNATI (AP) — Eugenio Suarez didn’t wait around to get his team going on Wednesday.
Cincinnati’s All-Star third baseman homered for the third straight game, this time in the first inning, Tucker Barnhart added a two-run shot and the Reds powered to a 7-3 win over the St. Louis Cardinals.
“It is nice, man,” said Suarez, who’s homered in three straight games for the first time in his career.
“I didn’t expect to hit that one out. One more against St. Louis is nice. We always want to beat St. Louis, especially today. My family was here. I know I have a little bit of pop. The ball was out, off the plate. My barrel caught the ball and hit it out.”
Adam Duvall also homered for the Reds. Sal Romano (6-8) allowed two runs and seven hits in six innings to give the Reds consecutive series wins over St. Louis for the first time since 2011.
Romano, who hadn’t pitched in 10 days and hadn’t started in 15, was surprisingly sharp with just one walk.
“I didn’t feel any different not to pitch for 10 days,” he said. “I just took a deep breath and decided to trust my stuff.”
Paul DeJong and Yadier Molina hit solo homers for the Cardinals, who went 3-5 on their eight-game road trip. DeJong homered in the third inning and Molina hit his 14th of the season in the seventh inning.
Molina flied out with the bases loaded and St. Louis trailing 5-3 in the eighth. The Cardinals were 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position and had 11 runners left on base — so many that it looked to interim manager Mike Shildt as if it were twice as many.
“We left 22 guys on base,” he said. “The good news was we had 22 guys to leave on. The discouraging news was we couldn’t get them in. We didn’t execute in situations where we could’ve done some damage. When you leave guys out there, it usually comes back to bite you.”
Suarez tied Monday’s game with a two-out solo homer in the ninth inning and Tuesday’s game with a two-out, two-run, seventh-inning shot.
The Cardinals had rookie starters each go deep without allowing a hit in the first two games of the series. The Reds went 7 1/3 innings without a hit on Monday and 6 1/3 without a hit on Tuesday.
Suarez got the Reds offense going early on Wednesday when he hit a two-run homer off Jack Flaherty.
Duvall added a two-out, opposite-field solo shot into the right-field seats in the fourth to make it 3-1, giving the Reds more than two runs in a game for the first time in their past six games.
“It was a better day offensively,” interim manager Jim Riggleman said. “There were a lot of good at-bats.”
John Gant gave up Barnhart’s two-run drive into the bullpen down the right-field line in the sixth to make it 5-2.
Phillip Ervin broke the game open with an eighth-inning two-run double.
Flaherty (4-5) allowed three runs, four hits, two walks with eight strikeouts in five innings.
DeJong’s homer was his ninth of the season and first since May 11. The shortstop missed 45 games with a fractured left hand. He hit 25 homers last season.
Reds’ Scooter Gennett, who went into the All-Star break leading the National League in hitting, snapped a 0-for-15 slump with a third-inning single.
GLOVE! WHAT GLOVE!
For the third time this season, Romano fielded a comebacker with his bare right hand, this time throwing out pinch-hitter Tommy Pham to end the sixth with the tying run on third base.
Jose Peraza snapped his streak of 45 consecutive plate appearances with a strikeout with a swing to end the eighth. His streak was the longest active one in the majors.
Even though Gant pitched an inning of relief, he’s still scheduled to start on Sunday, Shildt said.
Cardinals: Head congestion has caused IF Jedd Gyorko to experience dizziness, Shildt said on Wednesday. “He just hasn’t been feeling himself, but he’s improving,” Shildt said.
Reds: OF Scott Schebler, who was eligible to come off the 10-day disabled list on Wednesday, was sent on a medical rehabilitation assignment to Triple-A Louisville. Schebler is out with a strained AC joint in his right shoulder.
Cardinals: RHP Luke Weaver (5-9) has lasted exactly four innings in each of his previous three starts against the Cubs.
Reds: RHP Tyler Mahle (7-8) had been roughed up for 13 runs, 11 earned, in eight innings over his past two starts.