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Big first inning leads Cards past Reds

Three first-inning home runs propelled the St. Louis Cardinals to a 7-1 victory over the Cincinnati Reds in the opener of a three-game series between the NL Central rivals on Monday.

With two outs, Matt Holliday began the onslaught by pulling Homer Bailey's slider into the left-center-field seats. After Lance Berkman walked, David Freese and Yadier Molina went back-to-back, as Freese launched a fastball out to the opposite field before Molina blasted the first offering from Bailey 413 feet to dead center field.

Cardinals starter Jake Westbrook (1-0) walked four of the first seven batters but then settled down and did not issue a free pass thereafter, eventually tossing seven frames while allowing just one unearned run on three hits.

Bailey (0-1) took the loss after giving up four runs on six hits and three walks in 5 2/3 innings. He struck out five.

Brandon Phillips scored the Reds lone run from first on an infield hit by Zack Cozart in the fifth after an errant throw from Westbrook sailed into right field.

However, Phillips immediately left the game for what the team called precautionary reasons upon suffering a cramp in his left hamstring.

Molina batted in two more runs in the eighth inning, plating Freese and Berkman on a double to left, and Matt Carpenter pinch-hit a sacrifice fly to plate Molina with the bases loaded three batters later.

Game Notes

It was the first time in his career Bailey gave up three home runs in one inning...Westbrook and Rafael Furcal were each charged with errors...Freese has eight RBI on the season.