ST. LOUIS (AP) — For Miles Mikolas, throwing strikes translates to success — no matter where he’s pitching.
Mikolas, who spent the last three seasons in the Japanese Central League, tossed seven strong innings and the St. Louis Cardinals completed their second sweep this season of the woeful Cincinnati Reds with a 9-2 victory on Sunday.
“I had great command over there,” Mikolas said of his stint with the Tokyo Yomiuri Giants. “Pitching is pitching. You throw strikes and good things will happen.”
The Cardinals have won eight of nine overall and 11 in a row over the Reds.
Cincinnati, which has lost five in a row and 13 of 14, has the worst record in the majors at 3-18. The Reds are 0-3 — all against the Cardinals — since firing manager Bryan Price and replacing him with Jim Riggleman.
St. Louis took four games last week in Cincinnati. The Cardinals’ 11-game winning streak over the Reds is their longest since winning 11 straight in 1949.
Mikolas (3-0) gave up two runs, one earned, on five hits. He struck out six and did not walk a batter in what he called his best outing since returning to the majors.
“His stuff just continues to get better in our eyes,” St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said. “He’s had that history of being able to be in the strike zone and that makes him efficient.”
Catcher Yadier Molina, who went 3-for-4 with an RBI, said Mikolas made his job easy.
“Everything was working,” Molina said. “I feel confident with him. I can call any pitch and he can throw it for strikes.”
Wong hit a solo homer in the second inning. DeJong added a three-run shot in the seventh. DeJong is tied for second in the NL with seven home runs.
Wong’s homer came off Luis Castillo (1-3), who allowed three runs on seven hits over five innings. He struck out three and walked four.
“At the beginning of the first inning, I knew my command was not good enough,” Castillo said. “When that happens, you’ve got to go out there and compete. And that’s what I did for the rest of the game.”
The Cardinals added two runs in the third on a run-scoring infield single by Dexter Fowler, who reached base five times, and Tyler O’Neill’s sacrifice fly. It was O’Neill’s first major league RBI.
DeJong pushed the lead to 6-2 with his homer in the seventh off Kevin Quackenbush. He also hit a two-run homer in Saturday’s win.
“This series, I felt a lot more relaxed out there,” DeJong said. “The last couple of weeks, I faced some pretty good pitches.”
The Reds scored twice in the sixth. Joey Votto’s RBI infield single trimmed the deficit to 3-2.
“I can promise you this, hitters, whether the results show or not, are giving you 100 percent when they step into the batter’s box,” Riggleman said. “Their focus is going to be there. It’s just not happening right now.”
Reds: RHP David Hernandez will likely make his second rehab appearance on Monday for Triple-A Louisville. Hernandez has been bothered by right shoulder inflammation.
Cardinals: RHP Adam Wainwright was placed on the 10-day disabled list on Sunday with right elbow inflammation. RHP John Brebbia was recalled from Triple-A Memphis. Brebbia made two appearances earlier in the season and did not allow a run in two innings. … OF Tommy Pham missed his third game in four days with a right groin strain. He is day-to-day.
Reds: RHP Sal Romero (0-2, 5.75 ERA) will face RHP Mike Foltynewicz (1-1, 2.53) on Monday in the first of a four-game home series against Atlanta. Romero will be making his fifth start of the season.
Cardinals: RHP Luke Weaver (2-1, 4.22) is slated to start the first of three-game series against the Mets on Tuesday. RHP Zack Wheeler (1-1, 2.77) will start for the Mets.