The Cincinnati Reds put their best feet forward Sunday afternoon, but as is so often in Busch Stadium, they came about a foot short.
They lost, 4-3, but in the process they might have found a starting pitcher to plug into the rotation in right hander Jon Moscot.
Moscot came off the disabled list and pitched 5 2/3 solid innings, giving up three runs and six hits. Unfortunately for him and the Reds, two of those hits were home runs as the Cardinals hit 10 home runs in winning two of the three games in the series.
MOSCOT LEFT WITH a 3-3 tie in the sixth and it remained that way until the eighth with Ross Ohlendorf on the mound.
His major mistake, as has happened often this season with the Reds, is that he walked pinch-hitter Aledmys Diaz to open the inning.
OHLENDORF WAS one pitch away from staying out of trouble when he retired the next two Cardinals.
Then he had to face St. Louis back-up catcher Eric Fryer from Reynoldsburg, Oh., just outside of Columbus.
The only reason Fryer is on the roster is because regular back-up catcher and former Red Brayan Pena is on the disabled list.
So what has Fryer done? When he came to bat in the eighth he was 5 for 5 on the year. Make it 6 for 6. He drove a double to left center that scored Diaz from first base for the winning run, his second run-scoring double of the game.
Who needs Yadier Molina?
THE REDS, 6-AND-6, began the season at home with a 5-and-1 record but went 1-and-5 on the trip to Chicago and St. Louis, the behemoths of the National League Central.
The Reds gave Moscot a 1-0 lead in the first when Zack Cozart opened the game against Michael Wacha with a double to right field, extending his hitting streak to eight games. After Eugenio Suarez singled, Cozart scored on Joey Votto’s sacrifice fly.
St. Louis tied it in the bottom of the second when Jedd Gyorko cleared the center field wall with a home run. And they surged ahead in the second when Greg Garcia followed the home run with a single and Fryer doubled to make it 2-1.
UNCHARACTERISTICALLY, the Cardinals made two errors on back-to-back hitters to open the fourth and it led to two unearned runs charged to Wacha, although he made one of the errors.
Brandon Phillips reached on shortstop Garcia’s error. Jay Bruce dribbled one up the third base line and Wacha threw high, wide and ugly past first base and Phillips came all the way around from first base to score and a 2-2 tie. Devin Mesoraco drove Bruce home with a single and a 3-2 lead.
Then came one of those St. Louis bombs. Matt Carpenter led the fifth with a home run into the right field seats to re-tie it, 3-3.
MOSCOT RETIRED THE first two in the sixth, but he hit Garcia with a pitch (on a manager’s appeal) and walked Fryer. Blake Wood came in and retired pinch-hitter Jeremy Hazelback on a line drive to shortstop, preserving the 3-3 tie.
The Reds never threatened from the sixth inning on against the St. Louis bullpen. Left hander Kevin Seigrist retired seven in a row, including two in a row via strikeouts in the eighth (Votto on a called strike and Phillips on a swinging strike).
Closer Trevor Rosenthal closed it off after St. Louis scored in the eighth, retiring the Reds 1-2-3 in the ninth, the last two on strikeouts (Mesoraco and Adam Duvall).
Wacha came into the game with a 5-1 career record and a 1.87 earned run average against the Reds. He didn’t get the decision this time but was charged with only one earned run.
The Reds skeedaddled out of St. Louis and headed home for the start Monday of a three-game series against the heavy-hitting Colorado Rockies, followed by four against the Cubs, who took three straight from them in Wrigley Field on this trip.
The Reds have lost 17 of their last 21 series in St. Louis and they are 2-15 in the last game of a series there since 2003.
Call it the St. Louis Blues.