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Reds end scoreless drought in 9th to edge Cards

The SportsXchange

CINCINNATI -- Sitting in the clubhouse during a two-hour, 40-minute rain delay prior to making his season debut Wednesday, Cincinnati Reds left-hander Tony Cingrani tried to keep his emotions in check.

"You just try to remove your mind from it," Cingrani said. "I had a lot of adrenaline rushing. It's the first game of the season, against the Cardinals. Take some Excedrin and you're good to go."

After striking out St. Louis first baseman Matt Adams to strand runners at first and third and preserve a scoreless tie in the seventh, Cingrani darted of the mound.

"I was a little jacked up," he said.

Two innings later, Cingrani joined his teammates in the walk-off celebration after pinch hitter Chris Heisey's bases-loaded single in the bottom of the ninth lifted the Reds to a 1-0 victory over St. Louis at Great American Ball Park.

It was the first career victory for Reds manager Bryan Price, as Cincinnati evened the two-game series heading into Thursday's finale.

"From a selfish standpoint, it feels great. From a team standpoint, it feels even better," Price said. "It's important to get that first one and get the ball rolling. We know we're playing a good club."

Reds right-hander J.J. Hoover (1-0) struck out two in a scoreless ninth inning.

In the ninth, left fielder Ryan Ludwick and third baseman Todd Frazier led off with singles against right-hander Carlos Martinez (0-1) and were sacrificed into scoring position on a bunt by shortstop Zack Cozart.

After catcher Brayan Pena was intentionally walked to load the bases, Heisey ripped a single to center, ending the Reds' season-opening scoreless skid at 17 innings.

"Nothing like sitting around for about 10 hours and then getting one at-bat and doing something good," Heisey said. "I was focused on getting the barrel on the ball, sacrifice fly, base hit, anything to get the job done."

For the second consecutive game, the Cardinals and Reds were locked in a pitchers' duel.

Cingrani allowed two hits, walked two and struck out nine in seven innings.

Cardinals right-hander Michael Wacha was equally impressive, giving up three hits and fanning seven with one walk in 6 2/3 innings.

"I just watched some baseball on TV and took my mind off it," Wacha said of the rain delay. "Then when it was time, I got locked back in again."

Until the ninth, Cincinnati's offense continued to struggle coming off Monday's 1-0 loss to Adam Wainwright and the Cardinals in the season opener.

On Wednesday, the Reds had the bases loaded with two outs in the fourth and a runner at third with two outs in the fifth but could not produce a run.

There was nothing wrong with Cincinnati's pitching, however.

Cingrani allowed one hit and just two baserunners through six innings.

In the seventh, Cingrani encountered his first Cardinals threat when shortstop Jhonny Peralta walked and Allen Craig singled, putting runners on first and second with one out. Cingrani got catcher Yadier Molina to fly out before fanning Adams to end the inning.

The Reds' defense preserved the scoreless tie in the eighth.

Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong doubled with one out against reliever Manny Parra. Ludwick then made a lunging grab of pinch hitter Shane Robinson's line drive, and Cozart made a diving catch in shallow center on third baseman Matt Carpenter's looping liner, ending the inning.

Neither starting pitcher appeared fazed by the lengthy rain delay.

Cingrani retired the first nine batters he faced with four strikeouts before Carpenter's leadoff single in the fourth. Wacha retired eight straight in one stretch.

The teams combined for just three hits through five innings, two by Reds first baseman Joey Votto.

"They got the little things done (in the ninth)," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said of the Reds. "They got the bunt down. And we were stuck in a spot where we needed to pull a rabbit out of a hat."

NOTES: Cincinnati's 17-inning scoreless streak to begin the season was the longest in modern franchise history, according to Elias Sports Bureau. ... Reds 1B Joey Votto's first-inning double was his 1,000th career hit. ... Cardinals SS Jhonny Peralta was moved to the No. 2 spot in the lineup against Reds LHP Tony Cingrani, and he went 0-for-3. Manager Mike Matheny said the No. 2 hole will continue to be fluid. "It'll be like every other spot in the lineup," Matheny said. "We will put people there, and if it's working, we'll stick with it. If not, we'll try some different things." ... Olympic slopestyle bronze medalist Nick Goepper, a native of nearby Lawrenceburg, Ind., threw out the ceremonial first pitch. ... Cardinals LHP Kevin Siegrist got one out in the seventh, extending his scoreless streak to 25 2/3 innings dating to last season. It is the longest active streak in the majors.

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