Yadier Molina, Cardinals Take Series From Reds, Win 3-0

Umpires, fans, and players will all be on guard for perceived slights, which should make this the tensest April series we've seen in a while. Brandon Phillips's bat-tap is not, I'm told, grounds for a nuclear first-strike.

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St. Louis Cardinals Take Two Of Three From Cincinnati Reds

Yadier Molina's three-run home run was all the scoring Jake Westbrook and the new faces in the St. Louis Cardinals' bullpen needed to beat the Cincinnati Reds Sunday night, interrupting a scoreless pitchers' duel on the way to a 3-0 Cardinals win. Jake Westbrook pitched six scoreless innings on short rest to win his second game of the season, and Mitchell Boggs picked up his third save, striking out two in a scoreless ninth inning. Edinson Volquez struck out seven for the Reds in the loss; Brandon Phillips and Joey Votto each doubled. 

The Cardinals received a scare when Albert Pujols came up limping down the basepaths late in the game, but the Cardinals said after the game that he was lifted from the rain-soaked but undelayed game for "precautionary reasons." He was 1-4 with a single before leaving, and was replaced at first base by Lance Berkman, who played his first inning of the season there. 

Earlier in the game, Molina, one of the major pieces of last years Cardinals-Reds brawl, threw out Jonny Gomes at second base. 

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Ryan Franklin, St. Louis Cardinals Bullpen Fail In Cincinnati Reds Win

The St. Louis Cardinals had significantly less luck in Saturday’s rain delayed game against the Cincinnati Reds, falling 5-3 to their division rivals after the bullpen’s disastrous and rain-lengthened eighth inning. Miguel Batista, Trever Miller, Ryan Franklin, and a critical error by David Freese all contributed to the loss. Albert Pujols hit his seventh home run of the season for the Cardinals in the loss, which gave Chris Carpenter yet another no-decision in the season’s first month.

Batista got the first out on a soft grounder and struck Brandon Phillips out for the second, but in the meantime Drew Stubbs had reached on Freese’s throwing error. Joey Votto was intentionally walked to reach Jonny Gomes, who was hit by a pitch that loaded the bases for Trever Miller. Miller walked Jay Bruce to score the first run, and then Ryan Franklin was placed in an unwinnable situation. Franklin allowed a single to Miguel Cairo to put the Reds ahead for good, and without allowing a single earned run the Cardinals’ older half of the bullpen had engendered more than its usual share of fan rancor.

Aroldis Chapman picked up the win, going two-thirds of an inning with a strikeout. Francisco Cordero picked up his third save of the year for the Reds in the win.

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St. Louis Cardinals Top Cincinnati Reds 4-2 In Rain-Delayed Series Opener

The St. Louis Cardinals got to the Cincinnati Reds bullpen in the first inning, thanks to some astute managing from Tony La Russa, and made the most of it, scoring four runs in the first five innings to beat the Reds by a score of 4-2. Kyle McClellan came in after the first batter and went six solid innings for the win; Mitchell Boggs came in to get his second save in as many tries since the Cardinals demoted a struggling Ryan Franklin.

Brandon Phillips, engaged in a Twitter war of words with Cardinals fans earlier in the week, went 2-5 with a home run to pace the Reds, who were forced to play without scheduled starter Edinson Volquez after he went through a full warmup prior to a long rain delay.

Cardinals manager Tony La Russa, sensing that play would be stopped shortly, made an extremely late scratch of his starter, McClellan, going with reliever Miguel Batista at the last minute. Batista only threw six pitches before the rain came down, and when play resumed McClellan was ready. It made all the difference.

Albert Pujols drove in two in the win; Ryan Theriot and Lance Berkman doubled for the Cardinals, who improve to 11-9 and continue to lead the National League Central.

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Cardinals Vs. Reds In First-Inning Rain Delay, Brandon Phillips Booed

The St. Louis Cardinals and the Cincinnati Reds’ first game of the season went into a rain delay after just six pitches, which was barely enough time for the Cardinals fans to boo Brandon Phillips and cheer when emergency rain-aided starter Miguel Batista threw one up-and-in to St. Louis’s least-favorite baseball player since, say, J.D. Drew. Batista was named as the starter during warmups when Tony La Russa decided he didn’t want to start Kyle McClellan immediately before the rain started to fall over Busch Stadium.

Reds starter Edinson Volquez is unlikely to be affected by a significant delay, since he hadn’t yet come into the game. Batista looked less than ready for his brief audition, throwing six balls, including two wild pitches, to start the game.

The Cardinals currently have no update as to how long the rain delay will last, but updates are likely to come via the team’s official Twitter and in Viva El Birdos’s perpetually updated Game Thread. At this moment the Reds have a runner on first with Brandon Phillips at the plate.

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Choose Your Own Adventure #1: St. Louis Cardinals Vs. Cincinnati Reds

Like Mike Leake in a Macy's, adulthood has stolen many of my fondest memories. However, it has not taken my memory of the days when I once ruled the world and was allowed to CHOOSE MY OWN ADVENTURE(!).

Anyway, this is awkward... So, here we are.

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