Reds’ Melville roughed up in St. Louis homecoming
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Growing up in the St. Louis suburb of Wentzville, Tim Melville always dreamed of pitching in Busch Stadium.
That dream came true Friday night for the Cincinnati Reds’ rookie pitcher — though his performance was more like a nightmare.
Melville gave up seven runs in three innings of a 14-3 loss to the Cardinals. He walked three and gave up a pair of three-run homers.
“I just wasn’t executing pitches,” Melville said after making his second career start. “Staying in the zone early and being aggressive, it’s not going to be much of a game if you don’t do those things.”
Melville said he wasn’t nervous or overly excited pitching in front of family and friends. He simply couldn’t find the plate. He threw nine successive balls to start the game before Matt Holliday slammed his 11th offering 449 feet to center for a 3-0 lead.
“His pitch execution was not good,” Cincinnati manager Bryan Price said. “Everyone’s trying, but we haven’t had good results lately.”
Melville (0-1) got to spend a little time with his friends. Following his warmup in the bullpen before the game, he tossed a ball to his high school coach, Joel Adam of Holt High. Melville led Holt to the state final four in 2008.
“I’ve just got to get back after it and try to learn from this,” Melville said.
Joey Votto had a three-run homer for the Reds, who have lost eight of their last 10 games in St. Louis.
Holliday drilled two home runs and drove in four to pace a six-homer attack for the Cardinals. Hollliday, who entered the game with a .188 average and without a home run, reached base four times and recorded his 20th career multi-homer game.
“The results haven’t been what I wanted, but you’ve just got to stick with it,” Holliday said. “I felt like I was getting good swings and tonight I finally got some results.”
Aledmys Diaz and Brandon Moss each added three-run homers to help the Cardinals to their sixth win in the last seven games. They have scored seven or more runs in all six wins and hit double-digits four times.
Moss was sure that Holliday would eventually bounce out of his funk.
“He’s been hitting the ball well,” Moss said. “He probably hasn’t gotten as many hits as he’d like, but he’s been squaring the ball.”
St. Louis manager Mike Matheny was glad to see Holliday break loose. Holliday had just four homers in 73 games during an injury-plagued campaign last season.
“It’s always nice to see Matt get on the board in the home run column,” Matheny said. “He hit the ball a couple times with authority to center and that’s tough to do.”
Holliday wasn’t the Cardinals only long-ball artist.
Moss, Randal Grichuk and Matt Adams also homered. Adams’ pinch-hit homer was the second of the game and sixth of the season. That surpasses the Cardinals total of four from pinch hitters last season.
Carlos Martinez (2-0) allowed three runs and six hits over seven innings. He struck out six and walked one.
The Reds injury-plagued pitching staff gave up 13 hits and walked four.
“It was kind of a blood-letting,” Price said. “It wasn’t a competitive effort.”
Reds: SS Zack Cozart returned to the lineup after missing five games with right quadriceps tightness. … LHP John Lamb will make a rehab start for Triple-A Louisville on Saturday against Toledo. He underwent disc surgery on Dec. 7, 2015, and did not pitch in spring training.
Cardinals: SS Ruben Tejada went 1 for 3 in a rehab start at Double-A Springfield on Thursday. He was placed on the disabled list prior to the season with a left quad strain and could return as soon as Sunday.
Reds: LHP Brandon Finnegan (0-0, 2.84) will go in the middle game of the three-game set on Saturday. He allowed two earned runs each in his first two starts of the season.
Cardinals: RHP Adam Wainwright (0-1, 6.55) will start for the Cardinals. He is 8-9 lifetime with a 4.18 ERA against the Reds, but has won his last three starts against them.