CINCINNATI (AP) Paul DeJong is putting his rocky August start behind him.
The St. Louis rookie shortstop hit a two-run homer and Lance Lynn got past Joey Votto’s first-inning home run to win his fourth straight start as the Cardinals eased past the Cincinnati Reds 4-1 on Saturday night.
DeJong snapped an 0-for-16 slump with two hits on Friday and followed that up with his go-ahead shot into the left field seats on a 1-0 fastball with one out in the third inning on Saturday. It was the Cardinals’ first hit of the game. The homer was his 15th of the season and first since July 25.
“Guys are making adjustments on me,” said DeJong, the first Cardinal to reach 15 homers this season. “They know I’m aggressive in the zone and aggressive outside the zone. I’m seeing more patterns. It’s kind of a cat-and-mouse game.”
DeJong, the National League Rookie of the Month for July, needed 57 games to reach 15 homers with St. Louis after hitting 13 in 48 at Triple-A Memphis.
“When you do it at Memphis, you don’t know how it’s going to translate here,” manager Mike Matheny said. “It’s nice that he’s been able to make the adjustments. He’s got a pretty special skill set.”
Lynn (10-6), in his first start since the July 31 trade deadline, retired 12 of the last 14 batters he faced, walking Votto twice. The right-hander, who was rumored to possibly be on the block. limited the Reds to three hits and a run with three walks and four strikeouts.
He never felt like he was auditioning before the deadline, he said.
“I’m pitching for one team to win, and I’m pitching for myself,” he said. “I don’t care what other teams think.”
Seung Hwan Oh allowed a harmless two-out single in the seventh, Tyler Lyons struck out all three batters he faced in the eighth – including Votto looking to end the inning – and Trevor Rosenthal worked around a walk and a single in the ninth for his eighth save in 10 chances.
The win was the Cardinals’ first in six games at Cincinnati this season and the first in their last six overall decided by more than one run.
Cincinnati rookie Luis Castillo (2-5) struggled with his control, tying his season and career high with five walks and hitting two batters while giving up four runs – three earned. The Cardinals collected just three hits with four strikeouts in his 6 1/3 innings.
“I didn’t have my best stuff,” Castillo said through an interpreter. “These are days you have to compete and stay longer in the game. Mentally, I just stay 100 percent focused and try to compete.”
“I thought his stuff was really good,” manager Bryan Price.” His command wasn’t there for him as much today. Four hits total, but they had nine base runners via walks and hit by pitches. That kind of set the table for them.”
Votto drove a 1-1 curveball into the right field seats for his 28th homer of the season, one shy of matching his total from last season. Adam Duvall followed with a drive that seemed to glance off center fielder Tommy Pham’s glove and squarely hit the top of the outfield wall before bouncing back on the field for a triple.
Lynn coaxed Scooter Bennett into flying out to right field to end the threat.
“You don’t want to let things snowball,” Lynn said. “I made two bad pitches, and one cost me a run. The second one would’ve if Tommy hadn’t gotten a glove on it. Other than that, I thought it went pretty good.”
The Cardinals pushed across two insurance runs in the seventh on Pham’s bases-loaded infield hit and a passed ball charged to Devin Mesoraco.
Since going 5 for 39 (.128) in his first 12 games after the All-Star break, Votto has a 10-game hitting streak (15 for 32, .469).
SHAKE IT OFF
Cardinals 2B Kolten Wong was hit in the helmet by a Castillo pitch with one out in the seventh inning. The pitch knocked Wong’s helmet off, but he stayed in the game. He’s been hit a team-leading seven times this season.
Cardinals 1B Matt Carpenter was hitless in his last 10 at-bats going into the game, but he reached base four times, drawing three walks after being hit by a pitch to lead off the game. Carpenter struck out in the ninth.
Cardinals: OF Dexter Fowler took batting practice on Saturday. Matheny hopes Fowler can be activated by the end of the road trip. Fowler’s been on the disabled list since July 25 with a left forearm strain.
Reds: SS Zack Cozart is expected to be activated from the disabled list and start on Sunday. The All-Star starter has been on the disabled list since July 29 with a strained right quad. … RHP Scott Feldman’s sore right knee has improved enough that he could start in the next five days, Price said. … Mesoraco started on Saturday for the first time since July 30. A sore left knee had limited him to one pinch-hitting appearance.
Cardinals: RHP Adam Wainwright (11-5) is scheduled to be activated from the disabled and start on Sunday. Wainwright hasn’t pitched since July 22 because of back tightness.
Reds: RHP Homer Bailey (3-5) snapped a three-start losing streak on Tuesday, allowing four hits and a run in six innings of Cincinnati’s 9-1 win at Pittsburgh.