It wasn't all Molina. The Cardinals' impeccable pitching was in top form, too.
The Reds were blanked on Opening Day for the first time since 1953, ending the second-longest streak of scoring at least one run in season openers in major league history. The Phillies went 62 years without being blanked in an opener from 1911 to 1972.
Wainwright used his refined sinker to finally get the best of the Reds, who have hit him like no other team. Wainwright allowed three hits in seven innings, fanning nine.
"I've never pitched great against the Reds," said Wainwright, who threw 105 pitches. "Today I wanted to make the emphasis on executing pitches. I tried to simplify it as much as possible."
St. Louis escaped a threat in the eighth, when the Reds had runners on first and third with nobody out. Trevor Rosenthal retired all three batters in the ninth, finishing a three-hitter.
"We weren't able to get a hit there," said Bryan Price, who lost his managing debut. "It was disappointing, but there will be more disappointments along the way."
During pregame introductions, Molina got by far the loudest boos from the crowd of 43,134 -- the second-largest crowd for a regular-season game in Great American Ball Park history. Fans still haven't forgiven him for a 2010 brawl at home plate with Brandon Phillips.
They were booing again after his first-pitch homer in the seventh, his second career off Johnny Cueto (0-1). It was one of only three hits off Cueto in seven innings.
Not that the catcher noticed all the commotion from the stands.
"I come over here and try to win games," he said. "That's why I'm here."
Molina also fielded Joey Votto's grounder in front of the plate to start a double play in the third inning, part of an impressive game all around.
"I'm biased, but I think he's the best I've ever seen at that position," Wainwright said.
Wainwright won 19 games and finished second in the NL Cy Young Award voting last season, when he had his biggest trouble with the Reds. He went 1-3 in four starts with a 7.77 ERA against Cincinnati, getting knocked around so much that he called it a "head-scratcher."
Wainwright (1-0) refined a sinker in spring training and was in control on a breezy, 64-degree afternoon. He fanned new Reds leadoff hitter Billy Hamilton four times.
The Reds' best chance came in the eighth, when the Cardinals committed two errors. Phillips became the first Reds runner to reached third base but was caught in a rundown on Jay Bruce's grounder. Carlos Martinez fanned Todd Frazier for the final out, stranding a runner at third.
Cueto's third straight Opening Day start was a reminder that it's a matter of staying healthy. He was on the disabled list three times last season, limited to 11 starts. He changed his delivery slightly to try to avoid injury and was on the mark on Opening Day until Molina connected.
There were no close plays that merited replays.
Cincinnati's last shutout loss on Opening Day was a 2-0 loss to the Milwaukee Braves. ... Former Reds SS Barry Larkin and Dave Concepcion threw ceremonial pitches. ... Cueto was hit on the left wrist by Matt Carpenter's comebacker on his fifth pitch of the game. A trainer checked him, and he made a few practice throws. ... Hits king Pete Rose attended the game. ... The teams are off Tuesday. Michael Wacha starts for St. Louis on Wednesday night against LH Tony Cingrani.
43,134 (101.9% full) - % is based on regular season capacity
64 degrees, partly cloudy
Home Plate - Gary Cederstrom, First Base - Kerwin Danley, Second Base - Lance Barksdale, Third Base - Mark Ripperger
Cardinals beat Reds, 1-0. It's the 2nd 1-0 season-opening win in Cardinals history. The other was in 1980, when they beat the Pirates, 1-0.
Reds lose an Opening Day game 1-0 for the 1st time in team history