Cincinnati, OH (SportsNetwork.com) - Michael Wacha's strong outing to open his 2015 season led the St. Louis Cardinals to a 4-1 win over the Cincinnati Reds Saturday.
Wacha (1-0), whose 2014 season ended when he allowed a series-ending home run to San Francisco's Travis Ishikawa in the NLCS, only allowed a run on five hits and a walk with two strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings.
Matt Adams' first hit of the season was a solo home run that put the Cardinals up for good in the fourth.
Cincinnati starter Johnny Cueto (0-1) was sharp in the Reds' first loss this season, allowing two runs -- one earned -- on four hits and a walk with four strikeouts in seven innings.
"He pitched another great game," said Reds manager Bryan Price. "It looks like he picked up where he left off last year."
The Reds' only run of the game came on Todd Frazier's first-inning home run.
After Frazier gave Cincinnati the early lead, his mistake half an inning later helped St. Louis tie the game at one. With one out, he booted a ground ball hit by Jhonny Peralta, who moved to second when Jon Jay was hit by a pitch, advanced to third on Yadier Molina's single and scored on Kolten Wong's sacrifice fly.
Adams entered the game 0-for-9 and was robbed of his first hit on Marlon Byrd's diving catch in left his first trip to the plate. He would not be denied in the fourth inning when he smacked a hanging Cueto changeup over the right-field wall.
Cincinnati had chances in its next three at-bats to even the score. In each inning, the Reds had a runner reach third base, but Wacha was able to get the key third out and strand all three runners.
"That's when you've got to bear down," said Wacha. "I was able to get guys out in those situations with great defense behind me."
Play was delayed momentarily in the bottom of the seventh when a fan was hit by a foul ball off the bat of Byrd. Wacha later retired Byrd, but he was lifted from the game after walking Brandon Phillips. Seth Maness retired Zack Cozart, and Kevin Siegrist got Brennan Boesch swinging to end the frame.
In the top of the ninth, St. Louis added two insurance runs. Adams singled with one out and pinch-runner Peter Bourjos later scored on a Peralta single after stealing second base. That was not the end of reliever Burke Badenhop's trouble, though. He allowed singles to Jay and Molina to score Peralta.
Badenhop was relieved by Manny Parra, and the lefty got out of the jam by getting Wong to pop out on a bunt attempt and striking out pitcher Trevor Rosenthal, making his third career plate appearance.
Rosenthal had entered the game in the eighth with Joey Votto on first and one out. Votto moved up on a wild pitch, but Rosenthal induced groundouts from Frazier and Devin Mesoraco to end the inning. He earned the save in the ninth by striking out Jay Bruce and Phillips around a Byrd flyout.
Cincinnati was attempting to start 5-0 for just the fifth time since 1900 ... Cueto has thrown seven innings in each of his first two starts ... Sunday's rubber game will feature St. Louis' Carlos Martinez against Cincinnati's Raisel Iglesias, who will make his major league debut ... The Cardinals have won 12 straight three-game series against the Reds.