BY STEVE OVERBEY , Associated Press
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Mike Shildt wasn’t sure what to expect in his first day as interim manager of the St. Louis Cardinals.
He certainly didn’t foresee the treatment he received in a wild post-game celebration that occurred following the Cardinals’ 6-4 win over the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday.
“They got me in a laundry basket and they spin you around and then they go at you with a bunch of cold water to the point where I was hyperventilating,” Shildt said.
Veteran Dexter Fowler, who homered in the win, was happy to lead the joyful water attack.
“That guy knows his stuff, and you’re happy to put a smile on his face and get the (first) win for him,” Fowler said.
The frivolity came at a perfect time for the Cardinals, who broke a six-game home losing streak.
Rumors of discontent in the locker room, along with inconsistent play, spelled the end for manager Mike Matheny, who was fired after Saturday’s 8-2 loss after six-plus seasons. The Cardinals were 591-474 during Mathey’s tenure and made the playoffs in each of his first four years. But St. Louis failed to reach the postseason the last two years.
Matheny was a gold glove catcher for St. Louis from 2000-04 and used those leadership qualities as a manager.
Veteran catcher Yadier Molina said the firing of Matheny reflects on the entire team.
“When you see that happen, it’s because us, as players, we’re not doing our job,” Molina said. “I hate to say it, but that’s what it is. The blame is on us.”
Matt Carpenter and Fowler homered to lead an opportunistic seven-hit attack Tommy Pham broke out of a 0-for-20 slump with a two-run, go-ahead single for the Cardinals, who snapped a three-game losing streak.
Cincinnati, which had won four of five, is 35-26 since beginning the season 8-27.
John Gant (3-3) picked up the win with four hitless innings of relief. He struck out four and walked two.
Carpenter began the game with a first-pitch homer, his fifth leadoff home run of the season and 20th of his career. He leads the team with 19 round-trippers.
Fowler added a solo shot in the second off Anthony DeSclafani (4-2) for a 2-0 lead.
Pham erased a 3-2 deficit with a two-run single that highlighted a four-run outburst in the fourth. It was Pham’s first hit since July 5. He entered the game in the second inning after starter Harrison Bader left with a knee injury.
Both Pham, who is hitting .243 and Fowler (.176), have struggled at times this season.
“Those are guys that have proven success in this league,” Shildt said. “It’s definitely good for their confidence.”
Shildt said he was still in awe of his new situation after the contest.
“I’m still not believing it to some degree,” Shildt said. “But it’s a real moment. (I) just got through managing a game for the St. Louis Cardinals.
Adam Duvall tied the game for the Reds with a two-run, bases-loaded single in the fourth. Jose Peraza then put his team in front with a single off the leg of starter Miles Mikolas.
DeSclafani allowed six earned run on five hits over 3 1-3 innings.
“I just wasn’t good,” DeSclafani said. “I was terrible.”
Mikolas, who is headed to the All-Star Game, surrendered three runs on six hits over four innings in his shortest outing of the season.
Reds outfielder Jesse Winker extended his hitting streak to a career-high 10 games with a third-inning single.
Reds: RHP Homer Bailey allowed four earned runs in six innings of a rehab start for Triple-A Louisville on Friday. Bailey is 1-2 with a 5.87 ERA in six minor league appearances. He was put on the disabled list June 2 with right knee inflammation.
Cardinals: Bader suffered his knee injury while running out a hit to right field.
Reds: Cincinnati begins the second half on Friday against Pittsburgh. Right-hander Tyler Mahle (7-7, 4.02) will get the start.
Cardinals: St. Louis travels to Chicago for a four-game series against the Cubs after the break.