ST. LOUIS (AP) — Rookie Jordan Walker homered and had a career-best three hits, Jordan Montgomery pitched six scoreless innings and the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Cincinnati Reds 7-4 Friday night.
Nolan Gorman and Nolan Arenado also homered for St. Louis, which has won two straight after dropping five in a row.
“It feels great,” Arenado said. “Monty's a competitor, and we feel good with him on the mound. We feel like we have a chance to win ballgames when he's pitching. As long as we support him and play good defense behind him, good things will happen.”
Montgomery (3-7) allowed three hits and struck out six to win for the first time since April 8 at Milwaukee. The Cardinals had lost Montgomery’s previous 10 starts.
“This guy's given us a shot plenty of times,” Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said. “We just haven't come through for him. Tonight, he did a really nice job again. He established the fastball in, got a ton of swing and misses on the changeup, buried the sinker with the fastball in. Overall it was a really nice job. I think he's done that enough to get a W before today.”
Ben Lively (3-4) allowed seven runs on 10 hits in 6 2/3 innings as Cincinnati lost for the sixth time in its last nine games.
“It was the home runs tonight,” Reds manager David Bell said. “There's no question about that. Ben throws strikes. Those are going to happen. Obviously, three homers is never ideal, not what you want to do. But throwing strikes did allow him to go deep into the game.”
Giovanny Gallegos got T.J. Hopkins to ground out while representing the tying run with two outs in the top of the eighth, then pitched a scoreless ninth to earn his eighth save in 10 chances.
Cincinnati also had the tying run at the plate with two outs in the seventh inning when Willson Contreras threw out Will Benson trying to steal second base off reliever Andre Pallante as part of a double steal. Bell unsuccessfully challenged the out call.
“In that situation, we you have the tying run at the plate, so there's a lot of risk there,” Bell said. “Stealing bases has been a big part of our game. It's led to a lot of runs, especially when we have guys that get a lot of base hits and put the ball in play. You don't want to get thrown out there, but at the same time we knew going into the series that may be a guy you can run down. We've done that quite a bit, and it's worked out quite a bit.”
Walker hit his two-run homer, his fourth of the season, in the second inning and scored on Brendan Donovan's single in the fourth to expand the St. Louis lead to 5-0.
Arenado provided Walker a scouting report on Lively before his first at-bat.
“Last time we faced Lively, he pitched a great game in Cincinnati,” Arenado said. “I don't think Jordan was there, so I just tried to give him a little update on what I saw from that outing to this one. He deserves all the credit. He put the great swing on it, he had a great day today.”
Arenado drove a 3-0, two-out pitch 429 feet over the left field bullpen for his 11th homer to give St. Louis a 2-0 lead in the first.
Reds shortstop Elly De La Cruz had an infield single in the ninth, giving him at least one hit in each of his first four major league games.
Reds: Placed RHP Graham Ashcraft (left calf contusion) on the 15-day injured list. ... Recalled RHPs Ricky Karcher and Joel Kuhnel from Triple-A Louisville and optioned RHP Eduardo Salazar to Louisville. ... 1B/OF Wil Myers (kidney stone) started in right field for Louisville and went 0 for 3 to begin a rehabilitation assignment Friday night.
Cardinals: Activated OF Dylan Carlson (left ankle sprain) from the 10-day injured list and optioned INF/OF Juan Yepez to Triple-A Memphis. ... Activated RHP Jake Woodford (right shoulder inflammation) from the 15-day IL and optioned him to Memphis.
Reds LHP Andrew Abbott (1-0, 0.00 ERA) will make his second major league appearance and start when he opposes RHP Miles Mikolas (4-2, 3.74 ERA) Saturday.