ST. LOUIS (AP) – John Gant earned his first victory as a starter since 2018 by throwing six strong innings and the St. Louis Cardinals sent the Cincinnati Reds to their sixth straight loss, 2-0 on a rainy Saturday.
Andrew Knizner, subbing for injured catcher Yadier Molina, and Nolan Arenado each drove in a run. Dylan Carlson added three singles as St. Louis won a series for just the second time this season.
After waiting out a rain delay of 2 hours, 20 minutes before throwing his first pitch, Gant (1-2) allowed just three hits. He struck out five and walked two in his fourth start of the season.
It was Gant’s first win as a starting pitcher since Sept. 9, 2018, at Detroit. He had won 11 games in relief since then.
Genesis Cabrera pitched the seventh, and Giovanny Gallegos finished the three-hitter for his first save.
The Reds lost for the eighth time in 10 games. Wade Miley (2-2) gave up two runs on five hits in six innings.
Arenado hit an RBI single in the first.
The Cardinals added a run in the sixth when Knizner doubled off the left-field wall.
Reds CF Tyler Naquin turned 30 on Saturday.
Reds: INF Mike Moustakas, who hasn’t played since April 14, continues to recover from a non-COVID-19-related illness that has kept him on the 10-day injured list retroactive on April 20. “I’ve had a viral infection,” Moustakas said. “I don’t want to get into too much detail. It was bad and I wasn’t feeling good at all. I wasn’t able to fight through it so I got put on the IL. Last couple of days, I’ve been feeling a lot better. The cure for me was just time.”
Moustakas, who is hitting .289, said he could return next week. He will be eligible to return from the IL on April 27.
Cardinals: Molina exited after batting in the fifth inning Friday because of soreness in his right foot. Molina had raised his batting average to .339 after he homered and doubled. “I talked to him. He may be the toughest man alive and he said ‘I can play.’ I’m not too worried about it,” manager Mike Shildt said before the game.
Reds: RHP Luis Castillo (1-1, 6.05) will make his team-high fifth start of the season. He lost to St. Louis in season opener in Cincinnati. He is six strikeouts shy of 600 for his career.
Cardinals: RHP Jack Flaherty (3-0, 3.80) had a no-decision in his opening day start at Cincinnati. The Cardinals have won in each of his first four starts this season, averaging 11 runs per game.
DETROIT (AP) – Brady Singer took the mound in the bottom of the first and struck out the side.
The Kansas City right-hander already looked like he was in a nice rhythm — and the way Detroit’s Matthew Boyd matched him, this turned into a quick afternoon at the ballpark.
Singer pitched seven impressive innings, and the Royals took advantage of some defensive sloppiness by the Tigers in a 2-1 victory Saturday. The game was over in 2 hours, 10 minutes — the shortest nine-inning contest in the major leagues this year — although Singer was apparently too focused to notice.
“I had no idea how quick the game was,” he said.
Willi Castro homered for Detroit in the fifth, but that wasn’t enough to overcome Kansas City’s two runs in the top of that inning. Singer (1-2) allowed three hits and struck out eight.
Scott Barlow worked the eighth, and Josh Staumont pitched a perfect ninth for his first career save.
The shortest previous nine-inning game this season, according to the Stathead tool at Baseball-Reference.com, was actually the previous night, when Minnesota blanked Pittsburgh 2-0 in 2:17.
“You see the pace that was played today,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said. “Both pitchers had great pace, and that comes with the catchers knowing what to call and having the pitcher in rhythm.”
Boyd (2-2) was on the wrong end of this pitcher’s duel, allowing one earned run and three hits in eight innings. It was the fourth straight quality start for the left-hander.
The Tigers have lost eight of nine.
“We’re better than how we’ve played, and we’re getting it handed to us pretty often right now,” Hinch said. “Our guys are pretty frustrated.”
The Royals did not have a baserunner until Jorge Soler doubled to lead off the fifth. With men on first and third and one out, Andrew Benintendi hit a grounder to first. Jonathan Schoop threw to second for the force, but his throw was a bit high and took away any chance of a double play. Soler scored to make it 1-0.
Michael A. Taylor followed with a single to right, and Victor Reyes threw to third to try to catch Benintendi. The ball bounced past third for an error on Reyes, and Boyd wasn’t in position to back up the throw. The unearned run that came home on that play was ultimately the difference in the game.
“I think it’s just us figuring out ways to win,” Royals manager Mike Matheny said. “Today it was pressure on the bases, in my opinion caused some things to happen.”
Kansas City went down 1-2-3 in every other inning but the fifth.
Castro’s homer to right came on the Detroit infielder’s 24th birthday.
The Royals took Singer with the 18th pick in the 2018 draft. That was the same year the Tigers selected Casey Mize at No. 1. Mize lost Friday night’s game to Kansas City.
Singer is 3-0 with a 1.44 ERA in four career starts against Detroit.
“He’s done it to us a few times now,” Boyd said. “He’s a good pitcher. Any time you’re able to couple being able to put the ball on the ground, as well as getting strikeouts, that’s why he was a first-rounder a couple years back.”
Royals: RHP Greg Holland was reinstated from the injured list, and RHP Brad Brach was designated for assignment.
Tigers: Announced after the game that DH Miguel Cabrera (left biceps) will be reinstated from the injured list prior to Sunday’s game. The Tigers optioned INF Zack Short to the alternate training site.
The Royals send Danny Duffy (2-1) to the mound Sunday against Detroit’s Michael Fulmer (1-1).
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