St. Louis, MO (SportsNetwork.com) - Michael Wacha worked six solid innings and Yadier Molina hit an early three-run double, as St. Louis survived a close call in the ninth to best Cincinnati, 5-3, in the opener of a three-game set from Busch Stadium.
Allen Craig and Matt Holliday drove in a run each for the Cardinals, who raised their NL champion banner and won a home opener for the first time since 2010.
Wacha (1-0) allowed a run on seven hits with three strikeouts and one walk, then Carlos Martinez and Kevin Siegrist combined for two more scoreless innings.
"There was a huge crowd out there. Lots of energy," Wacha said. "I don't know who wouldn't thrive off of those kind of situations."
Trevor Rosenthal got into trouble in the ninth, walking Jay Bruce and Ryan Ludwick and allowing a base hit to Todd Frazier which loaded the bases. Zack Cozart singled in Bruce with one away and pinch-hitter Neftali Soto added a sacrifice fly before Billy Hamilton's fly out ended the game.
"Collectively, we've struggled to do anything with runners in scoring position," noted Reds manager Bryan Price. "That will change. It's just tough to sit through it."
Roger Bernadina added a pinch-hit RBI double and Brayan Pena went 3-for-4 with two doubles for the Reds, who have dropped four of their last five.
Tony Cingrani (0-1) lasted only four frames and was charged with three hits and as many runs with five strikeouts and four walks.
After Hamilton doubled to start the game, he was sacrificed to third and then erased in a rundown between third and home and Cincinnati went scoreless.
St. Louis countered in the home half as Matt Carpenter and Peter Bourjos led off with hits, Holliday walked and Molina plated them all on a one-out bases- clearing double.
Wacha held the Reds in check until the fifth, when Pena and Bernadina stroked consecutive one-out doubles.
The Cards boosted their edge to four in the home seventh with three straight one-out hits: doubles from Bourjos and Holliday followed by a single from Craig.
St. Louis improved to 3-6 in home openers at the new Busch Stadium ... Wacha hadn't allowed a run in 21 total innings against the Reds until Cincinnati measured him in the fifth ... Prior to the contest, the Reds activated catcher Devin Mesoraco from the 15-day disabled list and optioned catcher Tucker Barnhart to Triple-A Louisville ... Attendance was a record 47,492.