The Cincinnati Reds and St. Louis Cardinals series was nothing more than a perfect weekend for one team. The Reds hit the ball very well; they pitched well enough to defeat their division foes in four straight. It marks the first time since 1990 that the Reds have swept the Cardinals in a four-game series. The starting rotation gave Cincinnati impressive innings, and for the most part, the bullpen did their job. Reds sluggers Jesse Winker and Nicholas Castellanos again led the offensive charge to get the team on the edge of the playoff picture two months through the season.
Reds & Cardinals Series Recap
Game One: Thursday, June 3
Vladimir Gutierrez took the mound for Cincinnati to kick off the series in St. Louis. Gutierrez started slow, allowing the Cardinals to take the lead, 2-1. From there on, he settled in and was dealing with the bump. In the top of the second, Jesse Winker launched his team-leading 14th home run of the year. The Reds bullpen maintained the lead, only surrendering three hits to Cardinals batters: Tejay Antone and Lucas Sims, with Sims logging his fourth save of the year. The Reds took game one by a score of 4-2.
Game Two: Friday, June 4
Struggling pitcher Luis Castillo stymied the Cardinals. Castillo desperately needed a bounce-back start to get him on track. He gave his club six strong innings with one earned run. Cincinnati managed to put up three runs off Cardinals starter Kwang Hyun Kim, with home runs from Tyler Stephenson and Jonathan India. The Reds tacked three more runs on the Cardinals bullpen to help secure their second victory of the series. Reliever Michael Feliz recorded a goose egg for the Reds in the 9th while recording his first save of the season.
Game Three: Saturday, June 5
After pushing across a single run in the first, the Cardinals held a brief 1-0 lead. In the third inning, India struck gold off of Johan Oviedo as he homered for the second time in as many days, tying the game. Both teams in the fourth would push across runs, keeping the game even 2-2. Meanwhile, Tyler Mahle went seven solid innings for the Reds, holding the Cardinals to only two runs in his start. Eugenio Suarez unloaded on his 13th home run of the year, giving the Reds a two-run advantage over the Redbirds.
The Reds tacked on another insurance run in the seventh to make it 5-2. From there on, the Reds bullpen slammed the door. After allowing the tying run to come to the plate in the ninth, Shogo Akiyama made a nice sliding catch to end the Cardinals’ late-game rally. That gave the Reds their third consecutive win over the Cardinals and the chance for a sweep on Sunday.
Game Four: Sunday, June 6
The runs came fast and furious for the Reds in game four. Winker’s hot bat continued in the game, with the first three home runs he hit, giving the Reds an early 2-0 lead. Cincinnati pushed across three more runs the following inning to increase their lead to five and seizing firm control of a series sweep. The Reds continued to abuse the Cardinal starting staff with two more runs in the third, swelling the lead to seven. Wade Miley was masterful again in his five innings of work, fanning eight batters. But, the wheels suddenly fell off the Reds bullpen, with Feliz coughing up five earned runs, and it didn’t stop there. Brad Brach allowed two hits before he was lifted for Tejay Antone.
Subsequently, Antone blew the save after allowing a base hit to Nolan Arenado, tying the game. Both bullpens would duke it out, throwing up zeroes in the box score. Then in the ninth, Winker broke the tie with his third home run, coming off of Cardinals reliever Alex Reyes. Winker’s late-game heroics and Sims’ second save of the series would give the Reds the sweep of the series. It was the first four-game sweep of their NL Central rivals for the first time in 31 years.
Big salute to Nick Castellanos after his 21-game hitting streak came to an end today. He went 38-for-82 (.463/.532/.695) with 10 doubles, 3 homers and 13 runs scored during that span. pic.twitter.com/4Eqx73ZPW0
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) June 7, 2021
Takeaways From the Series
With a mix of good pitching and good offense all weekend, the Reds walked away with a crucial series win to inch them closer to .500. With an off-day on Monday, the Reds will have a chance to recoup before playing a two-series set against the Milwaukee Brewers. Looking at how well the Reds have been playing, they will need to keep the momentum going to succeed over the next two weeks. They will be getting help along the way too. Joey Votto, Michael Lorenzen, and Mike Moustakas are due to be back soon.
Embed from Getty Images