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Cardinals: Homer, homer, homer, homer, homer, homer

The St. Louis Cardinals unleashed the heavy artillery against the bewitched, bothered and bewildered Cincinnati Reds pitching staff Friday night.

They had 13 hits and six of them sailed over the outfield walls for home runs. And it could have been seven but center fielder Billy Hamilton went over he wall to steal a home run away from Matt Carpenter.

It was St. Louis 14, Cincinnati 3.

REDS STARTER TIM Melville, pitching near his hometown, did what so many Reds pitchers have done in this early season. Walk, walk, walk.

His first nine pitches of the game were out of the strike zone and he walked Matt Carpenter and Jeremy Hazelbaker.

He went to 1-and-0 on Matt Holliday before throwing his first strike of the game. Then his next pitch ended up over the center field wall and the Cardinals had a 3-0 lead before Melville recorded an out.

An error by third baseman Eugenio Suarez, one of three made by the Reds and two by Suarez, led to a fourth run in the first inning on Yadier Molina’s single.

THE REDS CAME back in the third against St. Louis starter Carlos Martinez, scoring three runs after they had two outs and nobody on.

Zack Cozart, back in the lineup after missing the three-game Chicago Cubs series, singled. Suarez singled. And Joey Votto, without an extra base hit in his first nine games, drilled a three-run home run to left field and the Reds were back in it, 4-3.

But not for long.

Melville gave up a one-out double to Yadier Molina, a single by Kolten Wong and a three-run home run to Cuban expatriate Aledmys Diaz that push the Cardinals lead to 7-3.

And he Reds were finished.

MATT HOLLIDAY HIT a solo home run off Dan Straily in the sixth and it was 8-3.

Alfredo Simon pitched two days ago in Chicago and gave up five runs in two-thirds of an inning. So it was his throw day in the bullpen, but manager Bryan Price decided to let his throw day be in the game.

Big mistake.

The first batter Simon faced, Randal Grichuk, hit a home run to left field. Wong reached on an error, Diaz doubled and pinch-hitter Brandon Moss hit a three-run homer and it was 12-3.

AND THAT WASN’T all. Jumbo Diaz came into the game in the eighth and he gave up a single to Holliday and a two-run home run to Grichuk.

So here are the ugly pitching figures, to be digested with a dose of Excedrin:

Melville: three innings, seven runs (six earned), three walks, two strikeouts, two home runs and a 9.00 ERA.

Straily: three innings, one ru, one hit, one walk, two strikeouts, one home run, 3.24 ERA.

Simon: one inning, four runs (three earned) three hits, no walks, one strikeout, two home runs, 12.15 ERA.

Diaz: one inning, two runs, three hits, no walks, no strikeouts, one home run, 4.26 ERA.LOUIS STARTER Martinez went seven and gave up three runs and six hits, walking one and striking out six.

ST. LOUIS STARTER Carlos Martinez went seven strong innings and gave up three runs and six hits while striking out six and walking one.

Offensively, the Cardinals put forth a team effort: Holliday had two homers, a walk and four RBI. Diaz had two hits, drove in three and scored two. Molina had two hits, drove in one and scored one.

So the Reds, who began the season on the upbeat with a 5-and-1 record, have lost four straight and are back to .500 at 5-and-5.

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