The top spot in the National League Central is being fought for in the Great American Ball Park this week. The St. Louis Cardinals are just one game back of the Cincinnati Reds in the division. The Cardinals took the first of a three-game series with the Reds 7-3 Monday night.
Jim Edmonds went hitless in his first game as a Red. The team acquired Edmonds from the Milwaukee Brewers in a trade earlier in the week. The gold glover hopes to make an impact in center field for a Reds team looking make the playoffs. MLB gambling sites have set the Reds among the favorites to win the NL pennant.
Mike Leake started the game well for the Reds, but suffered a miserable fourth inning that dashed all hopes for the team to gain a game on the Cardinals. Leake only managed to stay in the game for 3 2/3 innings, allowing nine hits and seven runs.
Matt Holliday started the scoring for the Cardinals in the fourth with a single to right scoring Jon Jay from third. Colby Rasmus followed with another single that brought home Albert Pujols. Yadier Molina walked, loading the bases for Skip Schumaker.
Schumaker doesn’t have an impressive slugging percentage, but delivered with a grand slam that put the Cardinals on top 6-0. The Cardinals batted around in the inning, and Pujols hit his second single of the inning to score Felipe Lopez.
“That’s the first time it’s happened in my career,” Schumaker said. “Everyone gets lucky once in a while. I probably hit it in the right park.”
It was Schumaker’s 19th home run of his career, and it was enough to prompt Dusty Baker to pull Leake. Chris Carpenter went seven impressive innings, struck out five and only allowed two runs. The starter improved his record to 13-3 on the season. Carpenter has won his last nine starts against the Reds. MLB betting trends seem to favor the Cardinals when Carpenter takes the mound.
“I do the same things I do against anybody else,” Carpenter said. “I watch video every single time and see what has changed and what hasn’t changed and put something together.”
Ramon Hernandez was the lone bright spot for the Reds, driving in two of their three runs. He managed to knock in a run with a double off Carpenter in the fifth, and a solo home run off Kyle McClellan.
The capacity crowd of 36,353 went silent as the Cardinals walked off the field victorious. The Cardinals are set as slight underdogs against the Reds in Tuesday night’s game at +115 odds. The Reds are the favorite according to MLB betting lines at -135.