CINCINNATI — Carlos Beltran and David Freese homered again on Tuesday night, and Kyle Lohse provided another stingy performance, leading the St. Louis Cardinals to a 3-1 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.
The defending World Series champions are 5-1 for the first time since 2008.
Beltran, counted on to help make up for the loss of Albert Pujols, hit his third homer off Mike Leake (0-1). Freese, the World Series MVP, added a two-run shot off Leake — also his third.
St. Louis came into the game leading the majors with nine homers. It has five in its first two games at Great American Ball Park.
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Lohse (2-0) has made impressive starts in Florida's summery warmth and Cincinnati's April chill. He took a no-hitter into the eighth inning of a 4-1 win in Miami last Wednesday, allowing only one run and two hits.
Lohse allowed Joey Votto's sacrifice fly and four hits in six innings Tuesday.
The Cardinals rotation has been sensational so far, going 5-1 with a 1.86 ERA.
Brandon Phillips, who got a big contract before the game, got a cramp in his left hamstring Monday and is expected to miss several days.
For the second game in a row, the Cardinals got to a Reds starter early. They hit three homers in the first off Homer Bailey on Monday. Beltran hit Leake's fifth pitch into the stands. .