CINCINNATI -- Finally.
After hosting the Reds for two series in St. Louis this season, the Cardinals pay their first visit to Cincinnati on Monday. The teams are scheduled to open a four-game series at Great American Ball Park -- three night games and a Thursday matinee.
Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. on FOX Sports Ohio
After a long period of Cardinals domination, the series has been as even as possible. Over the past 11 meetings starting last September with a 9-1 Reds win, the teams have alternated victories. According to STATS, LLC, that is the longest such stretch in the history of the rivalry. It includes Cincinnati's 2-1 series win at St. Louis in early April, the Reds' first series victory in St. Louis since September 2015.
The Reds and Cardinals split the next series at Busch Stadium in late April -- the middle game was postponed by rain and rescheduled for June 26 -- which means Cincinnati still hasn't taken consecutive series from the Cardinals since 2011, which also was the last time the Reds won a season series against St. Louis.
Carlos Martinez (4-4, 3.08 ERA) was the victim of one of those Cincinnati early April wins. The Reds erupted for four runs in the sixth inning to break open a 2-0 game on the way to an 8-0 win, Martinez's first loss to Cincinnati in 14 games, including five starts, over the last three seasons.
Martinez still is a respectable 5-2 with a 3.38 ERA against the Reds in 17 games (six starts). He is coming off a sparkling 2-1 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday, when he allowed four hits and one run with three walks and nine strikeouts in eight innings.
"He's rare, and it's fun when he's all locked in," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said after that game, according to MLB.com.
Martinez will be opposed by rookie right-hander Asher Wojciechowski, who will be making just his fourth major league appearance and second start.
Wojciechowski (1-0, 5.63) got the win in his first major league appearance, turning in 3 2/3 innings of one-hit, shutout relief in a 12-8 win over the Colorado Rockies on May 20. He allowed six hits and six runs, five earned, in 4 1/3 over his next two appearances, including four hits and four runs in four innings of his first career start last Tuesday at Toronto.
Still, manager Bryan Price decided to give Wojciechowski an extended look as a starter, bumping Lisalverto Bonilla from the rotation.
"He was our best starter in Triple-A at the time, and he certainly has earned an opportunity to go out there and pitch and for us to be able to see what he's capable of doing," Price said. "He traveled a rough road to get here, and we want to give him an opportunity to pitch."
When the season started, Wojciechowski was at home in South Carolina after having been released from a minor league deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Three weeks into the season, the Reds called, needing a starter at Triple-A, and he went on to post a 1.40 ERA in five starts with the Louisville Bats, earning a promotion.
The Reds (25-30) have lost five of their past six games after getting pummeled by the Atlanta Braves 13-8 in the finale of a three-game series on Sunday.
Cincinnati center fielder Billy Hamilton and right fielder Scott Schebler should be available two days after leaving the Saturday game with strained left shoulders, both injuries the result of diving for balls. They were available for limited duty on Sunday, Price said, though neither came off the bench.
The Cardinals (26-28) fell two games under .500 after taking their third straight loss, 7-6 to the Cubs at Busch Stadium on Sunday night. Chicago completed a three-game sweep.
"When things started to go bad, they went bad in a hurry," Matheny said.