Cardinals, Royals fall Sunday in opening series finales

Cincinnati Reds' Tyler Stephenson, left, catches the ball as St. Louis Cardinals' Nolan Arenado...
Cincinnati Reds' Tyler Stephenson, left, catches the ball as St. Louis Cardinals' Nolan Arenado reacts to the pitch during the first inning of a baseball game in Cincinnati, Sunday, April 4, 2021. (AP Photo/Aaron Doster)(Aaron Doster | AP)
Published: Apr. 4, 2021 at 5:34 PM CDT
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CINCINNATI (AP) - Nick Castellanos came out swinging with his bat a day after being ejected for inciting a bench-clearing melee, hitting a three-run homer and triple to lead the Cincinnati Reds to a 12-1 rout over the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday.

Tyler Naquin also a three-run shot for the Reds, who won two in a row to take the opening series in matchup of NL Central teams that earned wild-card spots last season.

“You want to win always, but what happened yesterday really heightened the mood,” Naquin said.

The fiery Castellanos flexed and jawed at St. Louis reliever Jake Woodford after scoring on a wild pitch on Saturday night. Catcher Yadier Molina took exception, grabbed Castellanos and a series of scuffles ensued that spilled into the outfield. Castellanos was the only player tossed.

There was no spillover from the trouble in the wrap-up game.

Castellanos kept up his big series with a triple in the fourth inning, scoring on a single by Votto. Then with two on and two outs in the fifth, he hit a 91 mph fastball from Carlos Martinez (0-1) into the Reds bullpen in left-center field for a 4-1 lead.

Castellanos went 6 for 11 in the series, scoring six runs and driving in five. He homered twice, tripled and doubled.

“There is more energy in the clubhouse, more energy on the field,” Castellanos said, clearly ready to move on from the Saturday incident. “Reds Country is happy right now.”

Naquin, who started in left field for the ailing Jesse Winker, homered into the right-field seats during a six-run sixth inning.

“It just wasn’t real pretty for a little bit of the last part of the game,” Cards manager Mike Shildt said. “It’s not something I’m concerned about because it’s something we won’t see regularly.”

Reds starter Jeff Hoffman (1-0), acquired from the Colorado Rockies in an off-season trade, gave up a just run on three hits through five innings and struck out six.

“That one definitely felt good,” Hoffman said. “Every day when I come to the park I feel like it’s a new beginning. It is great to be here.”

St. Louis scored its lone run in the fifth when Tyler O’Neill doubled and Molina singled, the only time Reds pitching allowed the Cardinals back-to-back hits.

Reds catcher Tyler Stephenson, getting his first start, had three hits and scored three times. Alex Blandino drove in two runs.


The 27 runs scored were the third most ever scored by the Reds in the first three games of the season. The 1895 team scored 36 in the first three, and the 1976 team had 33, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

“Our guys worked so hard last year and didn’t get the results,” Cincinnati manager David Bell said. “It is good that you see the confidence when you get results. We have a long way to go, but it’s important that our offense is a big part.”


Martinez gave up the big hits to Castellanos, but he and Shildt weren’t too disappointed in his performance. He gave up four runs on four hits through five innings. The next three relievers surrendered eight runs on eight hits.


Cardinals: Shildt said LHP Kwang Hyun Kim (back) will throw in a simulated game on Tuesday, and RHP Miles Mikolas (right shoulder) would soon report to the team’s alternate site to continue rehab. Both pitchers started the season on the 10-day disabled list.

Reds: Winker left Saturday’s game because he wasn’t feeling well, and didn’t play Sunday. Bell didn’t provide any other details.


Cardinals: Send RHP Daniel Ponce de Leon against Marlins LHP Trevor Rogers in the first of a three-game set in Miami.

Reds: Start RHP José De León against Pittsburgh RHP JT Brubaker as their homestand continues with a three-game series against the Pirates.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Nate Lowe hit a towering, three-run homer and the Texas Rangers figured how to hold onto a big lead, beating the Kansas City Royals 7-3 Sunday for their first win of the season.

Texas blew a five-run edge on opening day and a four-run lead Saturday. Boosted by Lowe, the Rangers avoided a sweep.

Lowe connected in the third for a 3-0 lead. He has nine RBIs in the first three games of the season, a Texas record.

Isiah Kiner-Falefa also drove in three runs. He had a two-run single in the fourth as Texas took a 6-0 lead and a homer in the ninth off Wade Davis.

Jordan Lyles (1-0) gave up two runs in 5 2/3 innings, struck out eight and allowed five hits. His eight strikeouts are the most he’s posted in a game since September 19, 2019.

“We didn’t pitch to our liking the first two games so I set the tone and it felt really good,” Lyles said. “I’m excited where my stuff is and we executed really well today.”

Texas pitchers combined for 14 strikeouts.

“We executed the game plan really well and that was the best I’ve seen Jordan pitch in a Texas uniform,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward said. “He went right after these guys and you could see the conviction he had in his pitches.”

Salvador Pérez hit a two-run homer in the Royals sixth.

Michael A. Taylor, who homered and drove in three runs in each of Kansas City’s first two games, went 1 for 4. He scored a run in the ninth on a single by Hanser Alberto off former Royals pitcher Ian Kennedy.

Brady Singer (0-1) gave up five earned run on five hits and three walks in 3 1/3 innings. He threw 77 pitches, the fewest in any of his outings in a two-year career.

“We need our starters to go deeper and we can’t expect our offense do that every night,” Royals manager Mike Matheny said. “So we need them to give us a chance going forward.”

Kyle Zimmer came in for relief and gave up one hits in three innings


Rangers: Kiner-Falefa was hit in the left hand by Singer in the third inning. He finished the game.

Royals: 3B Hunter Dozier didn’t play for the second straight game because his right hand is swollen. He left Thursday’s opener after apparently hurting himself on a swing. Matheny doesn’t expect Dozier to miss much time.


Rangers: Mike Foltynewicz starts the home opener against the Toronto Blue Jays on Monday.

Royals: Play at Cleveland on Monday as Danny Duffy starts after going 4-4 with a 4.95 ERA last season.

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