MONTERREY, Mexico (AP) — There were fireworks this time, too, after Derek Dietrich homered.
Fortunately for Dietrich and the Cincinnati Reds, it was all in good fun.
Dietrich hit a tiebreaking homer off Adam Wainwright in the seventh inning and added a two-run triple as the Reds won their fourth in a row, beating the St. Louis Cardinals 5-2 Saturday night.
The start of the two-game series marked the first time either team had played in the regular season in Mexico. A raucous crowd of 16,886 fans gathered at Estadio de Beisbol de Monterrey and turned the game into a fiesta that lasted for more than three hours and ended with fireworks.
“Monterrey has done a great job with the stadium and the facilities. We were very impressed because it was a first-class and great field, the fans and the atmosphere, everything,” Dietrich said. “Also, I think that the fireworks at the end of the game were pretty cool, it’s something that I will remember forever.”
Last weekend, Dietrich touched off a different kind of eruption.
After standing in the batter’s box to admire a long home run at Pittsburgh, he came up the next time and the first pitch from Pirates starter Chris Archer whizzed behind his waist. The benches soon emptied, leading to five ejections and three suspensions.
Wainwright hit an RBI single in the second off Tanner Roark for a 1-0 lead. Jesse Winker’s one-out homer in the sixth was the Reds’ first hit off Wainwright (1-1).
Dietrich connected to lead off the seventh, finishing Wainwright. Dietrich tripled to cap a three-run eighth that made it 5-1.
“Everyone on the team was very excited to play here and the crowd was awesome, the field was very cool also,” Winker said. “On the ride to the stadium, I was looking around the city, trying to absorb the experience as much as possible, and I can say that Mexico is a very fun place. I’m glad we got to come here.”
Cincinnati had lost eight straight, including four shutouts, before sweeping Miami ahead of this trip.
“We came off a stretch when we lost a lot of games in a row, but we bounced back against the Marlins and now we did it against a good team. It was not easy and hopefully we can get that momentum going forward,” Reds manager David Bell said.
Kolten Wong hit a leadoff home run against Zach Duke to begin the Cardinals ninth. Raisel Iglesias relieved and, after St. Louis put two runners on base, retired Paul Goldschmidt and Paul DeJong for his second save.
Jared Hughes (1-0) got two outs for the win.
Mexico is hosting major league games for the second year in a row. Last year, the Los Angeles Dodgers combined for a no-hitter against San Diego at Monterrey. Next month, the Los Angeles Angels and Houston Astros will play two games in this ballpark.
Cardinals reliever Giovanny Gallegos, who earned his first career win last Thursday, is the only Mexican-born player in this series. Gallegos is from Ciudad Obregon, in the northern state of Sonora, but he lived in Monterrey over a decade ago while he was at the Liga Mexicana de Beisbol academy in El Carmen, Nuevo Leon.
“I’m so happy to be back here now playing for a big league team, I was here 11 years ago and I never thought that I was going to be coming back pitching for a team in the majors,” Gallegos said.
“I feel proud to represent Mexico abroad and to show all the Mexican kids that dreams can come true and that nothing is impossible,” he said.
Gallegos had several family members at the stadium but did not get a chance to play.
DEJONG GOES COLD
DeJong arrived in Mexico riding a career-best 12-game hitting streak, the longest active streak in the National League, but went 0 for 5.
Cardinals: RHP Miles Mikolas (1-1, 6.19 ERA) pitched five innings, allowing five hits and three runs against the Dodgers to get his first win of the season.
Reds: RHP Anthony DeSclafani gets the ball on Sunday afternoon. DeSclafani (0-1, 6.75 ERA) allowed six earned runs against in a loss to the Pirates in his last outing.
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