Adam Wainwright, who is closing in on 200 career victories, faces arguably his least favorite opponent on Tuesday.
The 41-year-old veteran will try to reverse his career-long issues vs. the Reds when his St. Louis Cardinals visit Cincinnati in the second contest of a four-game series between theNational League Central rivals.
Wainwright has 196 career wins but owns a substandard 10-17 record with a 5.46 ERA in 39 appearances (34 starts) against Cincinnati. The ERA is his worst against any NL opponent.
In 22 appearances (20 starts) at Great American Ball Park, Wainwright is 7-8 with a 5.73 ERA. He has served up 17 homers there in 114 2/3 innings.
Wainwright went 0-2 with a 7.27 ERA in three starts against the Reds last season, including losses in both his starts in Cincinnati. He was highly frustrated after the second one -- a 9-5 setback on July 22 in which he allowed seven runs and five hits over 5 1/3 innings.
"This park has been tough on me. There's no excuse for it. There's no reason for it," Wainwright said afterward. "This has been a disaster my whole career. This place has been the hardest on me my whole career. I don't know how to explain it."
Wainwright (1-0, 5.74 ERA) gets another opportunity in what will be just his fourth start of the 2023 season. He began the campaign on the injured list due to a groin strain.
Wainwright picked up the victory in his latest outing when he gave up five runs (two earned) and five hits over 5 2/3 innings against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday.
The Cardinals have won 11 of their past 15 games, but they lost the series opener 6-5 in 10 innings on Monday. St. Louis star Nolan Arenado had a 12-game hitting streak halted by going hitless in five at-bats during a game in which the Cardinals were 3-for-16 with runners in scoring position.
"We had several opportunities, just couldn't come up with some big hits," St. Louis manager Oliver Marmol said.
Paul DeJong had two of St. Louis' three hits with runners in scoring position. He smacked a three-run homer and an RBI double.
Cincinnati snapped a four-game skid while winning for just the second time in eight games.
"We wanted to win this game, and so many guys came through to make it happen," Reds manager David Bell said.
Nick Senzel hit the decisive sacrifice fly for the Reds. He struggled badly over the weekend, going 0-for-12 with six strikeouts during a three-game set against the New York Yankees. Senzel had two hits against St. Louis on Monday.
"We had a meeting before the game and we've got to stay aggressive, we've got to stay fighting," Senzel said. "We needed this one."
Cincinnati's Spencer Steer hit a two-run homer -- his team-leading sixth of the season -- and scored the winning run on Senzel's fly to right.
Right-hander Graham Ashcraft (2-2, 4.84 ERA) will start for the Reds on Tuesday, looking for his first victory since April 15.
Ashcraft is 0-2 with a 7.06 ERA over his past six starts and has been badly roughed up during setbacks in two of his past three turns. He was pounded for eight runs and six hits in 1 2/3 innings against the Chicago White Sox on May 7, and he was torched for seven runs and 10 hits over five-plus innings by the Colorado Rockies on Wednesday.
Ashcraft received two no-decisions against the Cardinals last season while allowing eight runs and 16 hits in 9 1/3 innings for a 7.71 ERA. Arenado (3-for-6 against Ashcraft in 2022) and Paul Goldschmidt (2-for-3) each homered off Ashcraft.
Wil Myers is just 2-for-11 against Wainwright, but one of the hits was a homer. Jonathan India is 3-for-8 against Wainwright, and Senzel is 4-for-12.
--Field Level Media