Carlos Martinez dominated the Cincinnati Reds for six innings, and the slumping St. Louis Cardinals still found a way to give up the lead on the way to another loss.
Eugenio Suarez and Scooter Gennett hit consecutive two-run doubles in the seventh inning, and Cincinnati came from behind to beat St. Louis 4-2 on Monday night.
Martinez (4-5) was almost perfect through six innings before wilting in the seventh as the Cardinals dropped their fourth straight and eighth in 11 games.
"It's been frustrating, but I think our team will remain united and get through this negative period," Martinez said through a translator. "You've got to keep your mind positive."
The Reds had lost two in a row and five of six going into the opener of this four-game series.
Martinez, who was 4-1 with a 2.03 ERA in his previous six starts, faced the minimum 18 batters through six innings with the help of catcher Yadier Molina, who threw out major league stolen base leader Billy Hamilton trying to swipe third in the first inning and Adam Duvall attempting to steal second in the second.
"He was as dominant as you can be," St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said about Martinez. "It snowballed in a hurry. You've got to make plays to get outs. The next thing you know, your back's up against the wall."
Martinez retired 14 straight batters after Duvall's leadoff single before the Reds got to him in the seventh, loading the bases with nobody out. Suarez sent a line drive to center field that Dexter Fowler dropped while sprinting toward the wall.
"We were facing an ace," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "It looked like he was on. He didn't give us much to be excited about. Then we get a bunt hit. It's the things you have to do."
Left-hander Kevin Siegrist was brought in to face the left-handed-hitting Gennett, who snapped an 0-for-19 slump with a double down the right-field line.
"This is a crazy game," Gennett said. "You can do everything right. You can hit the ball hard and get nothing or you can make soft contact like I did tonight and get a double. The more you play the game, you understand that hitless streaks are going to happen. You just embrace it and do the best you can."
Lisalverto Bonilla (1-3) pitched a perfect inning and Raisel Iglesias struck out three in a hitless ninth to remain perfect in 10 save chances.
Asher Wojciechowski tossed six effective innings in his second major league start for the Reds. Wojciechowski allowed eight hits and two runs with two walks and five strikeouts in six innings against St. Louis after giving up four hits, including three homers, and four runs over four innings last Tuesday at Toronto.
"I was focusing on fastball location," Wojciechowski said. "They made good plays behind me — two double plays."
Wojciechowski faced the minimum nine batters through three innings and didn't permit a hit until Matt Carpenter's one-out single in the fourth. But the Cardinals bunched together five hits in a two-run fifth, including Tommy Pham's RBI double and Martinez's safety squeeze that scored Pham from third.
Martinez's bunt pushed Paul DeJong to second base, but he was thrown out at the plate trying to score on Fowler's single to left field — the first of Duvall's two assists in the game.
"Those throws by Duvall were huge," Wojciechowski said. "It gives you confidence and you know you only have to get one more out."
Matheny had no problem with either runner trying to advance.
"You've got to let guys use their heads," he said. "Sometimes, they get it right. Sometimes, they don't. It would've been nice to get a little more there. We had some momentum going."
Cardinals: Veteran RHP Adam Wainwright (6-3) takes a streak of 16 1/3 scoreless innings into Tuesday's start against the Reds. Wainwright has allowed one run in his last four starts.