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(Monday, March 31st)
Final Score: St. Louis 1, Cincinnati 0
Cincinnati, OH (SportsNetwork.com) - Yadier Molina homered for the game's only run and Adam Wainwright fired seven splendid innings to help the St. Louis Cardinals begin defense of their National League pennant with a 1-0 victory over Cincinnati at Great American Ball Park.
Wainwright (1-0) held the Reds to three singles and racked up nine strikeouts while working around four walks to barely outperform counterpart Johnny Cueto in a terrific Opening Day pitchers' duel and spoil the debut of new Reds manager Bryan Price.
"It was me wanting to go out and set the tone better than I did in the World Series," said Wainwright in reference to his Game 1 loss to the Boston Red Sox in last October's Fall Classic.
The two aces were engaged in a scoreless deadlock that Molina broke with a one-out homer in the top of the seventh.
Cueto (0-1) was otherwise outstanding as well, yielding just three hits and the game's only run while fanning eight over his seven-inning stint.
"Johnny was terrific," said Price. "We're pretty accustomed to seeing that kind of pitching from Johnny."
Molina and Matt Adams each collected two hits for St. Louis, which managed just five as a team.
Cueto had set down 15 of the last 16 Cardinal hitters until Molina belted a first-pitch cutter about five rows deep in the left-field stands, and Wainwright followed with a 1-2-3 bottom of the seventh to cap off his strong outing.
"[Cueto] threw me something in the middle and I put a good swing on it," said Molina.
The Reds nearly tied it in the eighth, however, loading the bases with the aid of a pair of Cardinal errors but failing to come up with the clutch hit.
Brandon Phillips began the threat with a leadoff walk off Pat Neshek and Joey Votto reached on a mishandled ground ball by St. Louis second baseman Kolten Wong to put two on with none out. Two batters later, Adams dropped Jhonny Peralta's relay throw to first on a would-be inning-ending double-play grounder to keep the Reds at the plate.
Todd Frazier was caught looking at a third-strike curve from Carlos Martinez, however, to keep it a 1-0 game.
The Reds then mustered little against Trevor Rosenthal in the ninth, with the Cardinals closer fanning the first two hitters before getting pinch-hitter Roger Bernadina to fly to right for the final out.
Cincinnati also came up empty on a scoring chance in the fifth, created when Cards center fielder Peter Bourjos dropped Brayan Pena's soft fly ball to put the leadoff man on second. Cueto then bunted the ball straight back to Wainwright, who fired a throw to third to easily gun down Pena.
Wainwright earned his 100th career victory in his third-ever Opening Day assignment ... Reds leadoff hitter Billy Hamilton struck out in all four of his plate appearances ... Frazier collected two of Cincinnati's three hits ... Peralta became the eight different Opening Day shortstop for the Cardinals in as many years, following Pete Kozma, Rafael Furcal, Ryan Theriot, Brendan Ryan, Khalil Greene, Cesar Izturis and David Eckstein ... Wainwright went 1-3 with a 7.77 ERA in four starts against Cincinnati last season.
03/31 23:06:20 ET