CINCINNATI, Ohio – Hours after manager Mike Shildt said his first 2021 lineup featuring Paul Goldschmidt hitting second followed immediately by Nolan Arenado offered opponents a potential first-inning “punch in the face,” the St. Louis Cardinals took the field in Cincinnati and delivered an Opening Day 11-6 knockout of the Reds during a slugfest at Great American Ballpark.
Goldschmidt hit a first inning double that was nearly a home run, Arenado hit an infield single, Paul DeJong followed with a single and Dylan Carlson hit a three-run home run all before the Reds came to the plate down 6-0.
Goldschmidt went 4-5 and scored three runs, while Arenado went 2-5 with a run batted in for his Cardinals debut.
Jack Flaherty started the opener and went 4 1/3 innings, surrendering six earned runs on six hits, including home runs by Nick Castellanos and Eugenio Suarez. He struck out four and walked two. Giovanny Gallegos got the win in relief.
Justin Williams was the only starting position player who failed to reach base and score a run.
Shildt said before the game that Alex Reyes would be the back-of-the-bullpen arm he’d expect to see Thursday if the team had a lead in the ninth inning, and that’s how it worked out, with Reyes throwing a scoreless ninth in a non-save situation. The St. Louis bullpen yielded just four hits after taking over for Flaherty.
The Cardinals have Friday off before returning to the field Saturday. Adam Wainwright will start for St. Louis.