ST. LOUIS -- Raisel Iglesias' Wallenda-style walk on the tightrope might have knocked the St. Louis Cardinals off theirs.
The Cincinnati Reds' reliever maneuvered through major jams in the eighth and ninth innings Wednesday night, preserving his team's 2-1 win that could have put a major crimp in St. Louis' National League wild-card playoff hopes.
In bagging his fifth save of the year, Iglesias picked up the last six outs in 30 pitches, every one of them a stressful one.
"That's more than you really want to go through," Cincinnati manager Bryan Price said. "I'm so glad we were able to pull it out. It could have easily gotten away, or easily been easier for us in the end. This was a satisfying win."
What Anthony DeSclafani's six solid innings and Adam Duvall's two-run, two-out single in the third built, Iglesias kept upright through two harrowing innings.
Wildness was his major opponent in the eighth as he walked Matt Carpenter to start the inning, then plunked Yadier Molina with one out. With Stephen Piscotty at the plate, Iglesias tossed a wild pitch to move both runners into scoring position.
But Iglesias got Piscotty to sucker for a breaking ball off the outside corner for the second out, then induced an inning-ending grounder from Jhonny Peralta.
That was the warmup act to the ninth. Pinch-hitter Kolten Wong, hitting for the first time since Friday, banged a triple off the right field wall to put the tying run 90 feet away with no outs.
At that point, Iglesias altered his approach.
"You think about being more aggressive and going after the hitter," he said through an interpreter, "and that's what I did."
Aledmys Diaz grounded to third with the infield in, forcing Wong to hold. Greg Garcia's shallow fly ball to Duvall in left again made Wong stay put at third. Pinch-hitter Jedd Gyorko bounced out to third on a 2-0 pitch.
Iglesias raised both arms in the air as the crowd of 36,275 left the ballpark, producing as little noise as their team made when it most mattered.
"They all sting when you have that many chances to score," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "That hurts and there's no question about it."
St. Louis (82-76) fell 2 1/2 games behind the New York Mets for the NL's first wild-card spot. It dropped 1 1/2 games in back of San Francisco for the second slot, pending the outcome of the Giants' home game with Colorado.
The Cardinals were 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position, plating their only run in the fifth when Matt Adams pinch-hit for starter Mike Leake with men at the corners and no outs, and rapped into a 4-6-3 double play.
Leake (9-12) fell to 0-2 in four starts against his old team, although it was hard to blame him for the two runs he did yield in the third. Swinging at a 91 mph sinker that burrowed in on his fists, Duvall looped it over Diaz at short and just in front of left fielder Brandon Moss to score Jose Peraza and Hernan Iribarren.
"I don't get a lot of those," Duvall said. "My swing is designed to get backspin. But I was pleased with it."
Leake allowed five hits during his five innings, walking none and fanning six, but DeSclafani was just a little better. In his last start of the year, DeSclafani (9-5) scattered six hits and permitted a run, walking two and striking out three.
DeSclafani's final batter of the year, Moss, went down hacking at a changeup with men at second and third to end the sixth. It was a failure that presaged bigger failures in the endgame.
"I would say missed opportunities hurt tonight," Matheny said. "That's a good way to look at it."
NOTES: Cincinnati signed OF Patrick Kivlehan off waivers from San Diego and added him to the roster. The Reds also transferred SS Zack Cozart (knee) from the 15-day DL to the 60-day DL. ... St. Louis 2B Kolten Wong (shoulder) wasn't in the lineup for the fifth straight game after being injured Friday when he stumbled and fell in left field at Wrigley Field. ... Cincinnati 2B Brandon Phillips (left hand) and CF Scott Schebler (hamstring) didn't start Wednesday night. Schebler was in the original lineup but was scratched for Hernan Iribarren.