The St. Louis Cardinals are the cream of the crop and right now the Cincinnati Reds are curdled cream.
Never was it so evident as Tuesday night as to why the Cardinals treat the Reds like pin cushions and punching bags during a 6-1 win.
The Cardinals could do no wrong and the Reds could do no right as they lost to St. Louis for the 11th time in 15 games.
Not even Mat Latos to could reverse the flow on this night. Of the four games the Reds have beaten the Cardinals this yer Latos started three.
But it was not to be on this night, even though Latos had two hits, one more than any other member of his team.
Through five innings, the Reds had seven hits and 10 base runners — and one run. And that run came on a solo home run by Shin Soo-Choo leading off the fifth inning.
The Reds didn’t have a hit after that and just one base runner, a walk to Jay Bruce with two outs in the fifth. The last 13 Reds went down in order.
And it’s all fundamental stuff. The Cardinals do it, the Reds don’t.
How’s this one?
In the fourth inning the Reds had Jay Bruce on second and Zack Cozart on first. Latos blooped a single to shallow center field. Third base coach Mark Berry rightfully threw up the stop sign for Bruce at third. But Cozart rounded second and never looked up as he chugged to third.
One problem. Bruce was standing on third. So the Reds had two men on third base — perhaps believing that since they seldom put a runner on third maybe two on third might work.
In the sixth inning, Carlos Beltran was on first when Matt Holliday flied to center. Instead of going halfway to second, normal procedure, Beltran tagged up and slid into second after the catch. That enabled him to score on a double by Automatic Allen Craig to turn a 2-1 lead into 3-1.
Fast forward to the seventh. Jon Jay singled. Daniel Descalso dropped a bunt in front of the plate and Latos appeared to have the play. But first baseman Joey Votto called him off and by the time he fielded the ball and turned to throw, Descalso beat it out.
Now the Cardinals had runners on first and second with no outs. On a 2-and-2 count both Jay and Descalso took off — a double steal. That permitted Jay to score on a sacrifice fly to make it 4-1.
Alfredo Simon took over for the eighth and it was painful to watch. He took forever between pitches and ended up giving up two runs on two hits, a walk and a hit batsman.
The Cardinals started quickly when the first three batters in the first inning singled and the Cardinals jumped to a quick 2-0 lead, all they really needed.
The Reds had two on with two outs in the first, but Jay Bruce grounded out.
The Reds had two on with outs in the second but Shin-Soo Choo grounded out.
Then came the fourth and Cozart’s faux pas and from that point on the Reds were lethargic and toothless.
They are now 4 ½ games out of first place and they’ve lost this three-game series no matter what they do Wednesday and are 3-25-2 in their last 30 series against the Cardinals.
That’s called getting creamed with monotonous regularity.