CINCINNATI (AP) _ The Cincinnati Reds sunk to their worst start since 1931, losing their seventh in a row when Greg Garcia hit two home runs for the first time in his career and led the St. Louis Cardinals to a 6-1 win Saturday.
The Reds fell to a major league-worst 2-12. Not since the Great Depression when the Reds lost 17 of their first 19 had they begun so badly.
It’s especially discouraging for a rebuilding team that’s seen attendance drop significantly while it put together three straight last-place finishes in the NL Central. The Reds have lost at least 94 games in each of those seasons.
The Cardinals are heading in he opposite direction, winning a season-high three in a row with an offense that’s finally rounding into form. They’ve scored 24 runs and piled up eight homers _ by six different players _ during the first three games of the series.
Garcia had a solo homer and a two-run shot off left-hander Brandon Finnegan (0-1), who lasted 4 1/3 innings in his season debut. Garcia came into the game with a total of seven career homers, including only two last season. Garcia later doubled and scored on Tommy Pham’s double.
Pham had a solid game at the top of the lineup. He singled twice, doubled, walked, stole two bases and scored two times. Marcell Ozuna had a sacrifice fly, but his hitting streak ended at 12 games.
Miles Mikolas (2-0) limited the Reds’ struggling offense to four hits in seven innings, including Tucker Barnhart’s homer.
The Reds placed their hopes for a turnaround on the top of their rotation staying healthy. The pitching staff has been sapped by injuries again this season and has given up the most runs and homers in the majors.
Finnegan strained his left biceps during spring training. He was activated before Saturday’s game and gave up six hits, four walks and five runs in 4 1/3 innings, throwing 91 pitches.
Cardinals: RH Luke Gregerson has made another step in his recovery from a strained left hamstring, pitching on consecutive days during a minor league rehab assignment. He got hurt during spring training.
Reds: OF Jesse Winker is expected to miss at least one more day with a sore right shoulder. He was scratched from the lineup on Friday.
Cardinals: Carlos Martinez (1-1) is 6-3 career against the Reds. St. Louis has won six of his last eight starts against Cincinnati.
Reds: Bailey (0-2) makes his fourth start still looking for his first win. Bailey is 6-13 career against the Cardinals with a 5.86 ERA.