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Major League Baseball
Cincinnati at St. Louis
When: 2:15 PM ET, Saturday, April 18, 2015
Where: Busch Stadium, St. Louis, Missouri

The St. Louis Cardinals will try to clinch their ninth straight home series against the Cincinnati Reds when the National League Central rivals square off Saturday. The Cardinals claimed the opener of the three-game set 6-1 on Friday behind a strong pitching performance and three RBIs from catcher Yadier Molina.

St. Louis has won three of four meetings this season and broke it open late Friday, scoring three runs in the seventh and two in the eighth to upend a pitching duel between Michael Wacha and Cincinnati ace Johnny Cueto. The Cardinals have leaned on terrific pitching while winning three straight, allowing a total of three runs over that span, and they've given up two or fewer runs in six of their first nine games. Reds right-hander Homer Bailey returns to the rotation for the first time this season but he does so in a park that has been unkind to him — he's 1-5 with a 5.74 ERA in nine career outings at Busch Stadium. Cincinnati has lost five of six since a 4-0 start.

TV: 2:15 p.m. ET, FSN Ohio (Cincinnati), FSN Midwest (St. Louis)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Reds RH Homer Bailey (2014: 9-5, 3.71 ERA) vs. Cardinals RH Carlos Martinez (0-0, 2.57)

Bailey is ready for his season debut after rehabbing from flexor mass tendon surgery near his right elbow. The 28-year-old made a start for Triple-A Louisville on Sunday and went 5 2/3 innings, allowing three earned runs and five hits. Bailey has had mixed results in 20 starts against the Cardinals, going 6-10 with a 4.98 ERA.

Martinez was solid in his first start of the season, striking out eight Reds and allowing two runs and four hits over six innings in a no-decision. Both runs came on solo homers and Martinez left with the lead but the bullpen couldn't hold on. The meeting was the 23-year-old's first start against Cincinnati after 11 relief appearances versus the Reds in 2013 and 2014, and he is 2-1 with a 2.91 ERA versus them.


1. Cardinals SS Jhonny Peralta and LF Matt Holliday are riding nine-game hitting streaks. Peralta is 2-for-10 with a homer and two strikeouts versus Bailey while Holliday is 13-for-42 with seven extra-base hits and 12 strikeouts.

2. Reds SS Zack Cozart is 10-for-22 during a six-game hitting streak. He is 2-for-8 with three strikeouts versus Martinez.

3. St. Louis 3B Matt Carpenter, who is hitting a team-best .378, is 15-for-25 with a pair of doubles against Bailey.

PREDICTION: Cardinals 4, Reds 2

Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away East Central West IL
Cincinnati 5-5 L2 4-2 1-3 0-0 5-5 0-0 0-0
St. Louis 6-3 W3 3-1 3-2 0-0 6-3 0-0 0-0
Last Meeting
Cincinnati St. Louis
Date Away Home Avg HR OPS Avg HR OPS
4/17/15 CIN 1 STL 6 .182 1 .553 .241 0 .652
Player Stats
Season Series
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Cincinnati Z. Cozart .467 7 1.000
St. Louis J. Peralta .400 6 1.145
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Cincinnati J. Votto 3 4 5
St. Louis M. Carpenter 1 5 4
Pitching ERA Avg K
Cincinnati 4.62 .201 35
St. Louis 2.92 .255 33
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Cincinnati J. Votto .378 14 1.300
St. Louis M. Carpenter .378 14 1.061
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Cincinnati J. Votto 4 7 10
St. Louis M. Carpenter 1 9 7
Pitching ERA Avg K
Cincinnati 3.90 .214 87
St. Louis 2.00 .256 78