Wacha makes season debut versus Reds

(SportsNetwork.com) – The last time Michael Wacha was on the mound, the St.
Louis Cardinals were watching the San Francisco Giants celebrate a trip to the
World Series.

Wacha, who takes the mound for St. Louis against the Cincinnati Reds Saturday
afternoon, makes his first appearance of 2015 since throwing the final pitch
of the 2014 NL Championship Series. That’s when the reigning World Series
champion Giants made the Fall Classic thanks to Travis Ishikawa’s three-run
homer in the bottom of the ninth inning.

It was the only time Wacha pitched in last year’s playoffs, the year after the
Cardinals won the World Series. The 2014 departure stunned the Cardinals, who
lost the NLCS in five games.

Wacha went 5-6 with a 3.20 ERA in 19 games last season, but 15 of those starts
came prior to a DL stint due to a stress reaction in his pitching shoulder.
The right-hander was particularly strong in spring training with a 1-0 mark
and a 1.77 ERA.

In five career starts (6 appearances) against the Reds, Wacha is 1-1 with a
2.30 ERA.

Johnny Cueto will try to build on his impressive opening-day start when he
takes the mound for the Reds. Kevin Gregg ruined a solid outing from Cueto
with one pitch in the top of the eighth frame, as Andrew McCutchen tied the
score on a two-out, two-run blast. The Reds then won, 5-2, on Todd Frazier’s
three-run shot in the home half of the inning.

Cueto fanned 10 and gave up four hits and a walk over his seven-inning start.
He also picked up career strikeout No. 1,000 during the game and lowered his
opening-day ERA to 0.64 over four starts.

In 18 career starts versus the Cardinals, Cueto is 5-6 with a 4.19 ERA.

On Friday, Joey Votto hit a pair of two-run homers and Billy Hamilton’s speed
was the difference in the Reds’ 5-4 win.

Votto’s two opposite-field shots off Cardinals starter John Lackey provided
Cincinnati’s first four runs, and Hamilton tagged up and scored on Todd
Frazier’s shallow sacrifice fly to right field for the go-ahead run in the

“He’s taking things what’s given to him both offensively and on the bases,”
Reds manager Bryan Price said of Hamilton.

Jordan Walden (0-1) took the loss after walking Hamilton, allowing him to
steal second and seeing him advance on a wild pitch. Lackey exited after
allowing four runs on four hits and two walks in six innings with a strikeout.

“Overall, John was good,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said.

The Cardinals outhit Cincinnati, 10-4, including a two-run home run from
Randal Grichuk and Jason Heyward’s game-tying single in the seventh.

Jason Marquis, who had not appeared in a major league game since 2013, allowed
three runs in six innings with seven strikeouts. J.J. Hoover (2-0) struck out
three in 1 1/3 innings of relief, and Aroldis Chapman fanned two to earn his
second save.

The Cardinals were 12-7 versus the Reds last season, splitting 10 meetings in