(SportsNetwork.com) - Johnny Cueto has picked up where he left off from last season, but has no wins to show for it.
Cueto will lead the Cincinnati Reds into the Gateway City Friday for the opener of a three-game series against the St. Louis Cardinals. He is 0-1 with a 0.64 earned run average in two starts and was dealt the loss in Saturday's 4-1 verdict versus the Cardinals.
The right-hander gave up two runs - one earned - and four hits in seven innings with four strikeouts and one walk. Cueto, who fired seven shutout innings in a 5-2 win over Pittsburgh on April 6, is 5-7 with a 4.01 ERA in 19 career starts against St. Louis.
Cincinnati has lost four of five games following a 4-0 start and lost two of three meetings with the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field to open a 10-game journey. In Wednesday's 5-0 drubbing at the hands of the rival Cubs, Jason Marquis was saddled with the loss for permitting five runs, four of which were earned, over four innings.
Marquis struck out six and walked three batters.
Brandon Phillips had two of the Reds' four hits. Chicago banged out 11 and Cubs starter Travis Wood struck out seven in seven scoreless innings.
"It was a tough combination," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "We were down early and (Wood) was on."
The Reds will also visit Milwaukee for four games on this trek.
St. Louis kicked off a six-game homestand by taking two of three matchups with the Brewers and posted a series win with Thursday's 4-0 victory. John Lackey was on point with seven scoreless innings and eight K's. He walked one and scattered five hits for his first win of the season.
"His stuff just keeps getting better to me," St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said about Lackey. "So far, this season I really like the way he's throwing the ball."
Matt Carpenter doubled twice, scored once and drove in a run, while Yadier Molina and Mark Reynolds both finished 2-for-4 with an RBI. The Cardinals had an 11-6 advantage in hits to win for the fourth time in five games.
Michael Wacha looks to keep the wins coming for St. Louis Friday and is 1-0 with a 1.42 earned run average. He made his season debut in Saturday's 4-1 win at Cincinnati and held the Reds to a run in 6 1/3 innings. In seven career meetings (6 starts) with Cincinnati, Wacha is 2-1 with a 2.15 ERA.
The right-handed Wacha was 5-0 with a 2.44 ERA in nine home starts last season.
The Cardinals were 12-7 versus the Reds last season. They won two of three games at Cincinnati from April 10-12, and Sunday's 7-5 win in 11 innings came with some controversy. Reds manager Bryan Price believed Cardinals outfielder Jason Heyward had a "dirty slide" into third baseman Todd Frazier in the fifth inning.
Price was asked if he thought the Cardinals were a dirty team.
"No, no, no, no, no. Not at all," Price said. "That's not the point. The point is, for one play in this series, they did something that was not a good play, probably not intentional, but it came across as a late slide with a high spike, and it's not good baseball. That's not a good thing. It shouldn't happen. It shouldn't happen without a response."