ST. LOUIS -- At this time last year, Adam Duvall was platooning in left field with Scott Schebler, hoping not to get the call into the manager's office and hear that he was headed down to Triple-A Louisville. Now, Duvall is a National League All-Star, a 30-homer hitter and firmly established as the No. 4 hitter in the Cincinnati Reds' lineup. Sunday's 8-0 win over the St. Louis Cardinals in Busch Stadium merely reinforced the notion that Duvall's 2016 season is no one-off. Facing one of the league's top right-handers in Carlos Martinez, who last year didn't allow an extra-base hit to a right-handed hitter until late July, Duvall cracked a solo homer in the second and added two singles. "He's got a good fastball," Duvall said of Martinez. "I wanted to try and stay square on him and not try to over-pull the ball because then it opens up the outer half. It's going to be a tough at-bat, but I was able to get something to hit and put the barrel on it." After Sunday's performance, Duvall is off to a .348 start in the first six games with two homers and four RBIs. While Duvall might never exhibit the type of patience one would want to see from a power threat, the presence of Joey Votto directly in front of him will force opponents to give him strikes, usually with someone on base. While Duvall said after the game he feels like the same hitter now he was last year, manager Bryan Price says last year's breakout performance has to have helped Duvall's confidence level. "He's just keeping the game simple, not pressing and trying to hit a home run every at-bat," Price said. "He's getting a good pitch to hit and battling with two strikes. He won the job last year and he's been outstanding from day one." Duvall's three hits paced an 11-hit attack for Cincinnati (4-2), which won a series in St. Louis for just the fifth time in 40 tries dating to 2003. Votto added his second homer and scored twice, and Schebler and Zack Cozart also knocked in runs. Meanwhile, Scott Feldman (1-1) bounced back from an underwhelming Opening Day start against Philadelphia to overwhelm the Cardinals (2-4). Feldman allowed four hits in six-plus innings, walking one and striking out six. "My command was much better this time," he said. "It makes it much easier when the guys come out and put all those runs on the board." Coming off a brilliant Opening Night turn in which he fanned 10 Chicago Cubs in 7 1/3 scoreless innings, Martinez didn't exhibit the same stuff or command in this one. He left after five-plus innings, six hits and six runs (five earned). Martinez walked one and fanned three. Nothing went right for St. Louis after it appeared to emerge from a first-week skid offensively with a 10-4 pasting of the Reds on Saturday. It managed just six hits off three pitchers and melted down defensively in an embarrassing sixth that saw it commit three errors before it got an out. After Duvall's third hit scored Jose Peraza to make it 3-0, third baseman Jhonny Peralta bobbled a potential double play bouncer from Eugenio Suarez. Peralta then tossed the ball into right field trying to force Duvall at second for a second miscue, scoring Votto. Schebler then welcomed reliever Brett Cecil with a first-pitch double that plated Duvall. Right fielder Randal Grichuk dribbled the ball after picking it up for a third error, allowing Suarez to score all the way from first for a 6-0 advantage. "Errors happen in the game," Peralta said. "It happens to every team. It happened to us. I mean, the season is really long. Tomorrow is another day." NOTES: St. Louis LHP Tyler Lyons (right knee) threw a bullpen session Sunday and said he expects to make his next rehab start Wednesday for Triple-A Memphis. He pitched 3 1/3 scoreless innings Friday night in New Orleans. ... Cincinnati C Devin Mesoraco (hip) caught seven innings on a rehab assignment Saturday night for Double-A Pensacola, belting a two-run homer against Tennessee. Mesoraco will have Sunday off and will attempt to catch a full game Monday night. ... Cardinals OF Stephen Piscotty (knee soreness) missed a second straight start.
Reds take series against Cardinals with 8-0 win
The Sports Xchange | Apr 9