Five-run seventh propels Cincinnati Reds past St. Louis Cardinals

By Jeff Wallner, The Sports Xchange  |  June 8, 2017 at 3:08 AM
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CINCINNATI -- Patrick Kivlehan tried something a little different before his pinch-hit appearance with two runners on and the Cincinnati Reds trailing by three runs in the seventh inning Wednesday night.

"I said I'm just grabbing my bat and going up there," Kivlehan said. "I'm not taking any swings. Probably not the best long-term strategy."

It worked this time.

Kivlehan tied the score with a three-run homer, and Joey Votto's go-ahead, two-run shot capped a five-run seventh inning, lifting the Reds to a 6-4 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals at Great American Ball Park.

Scott Schebler also homered for Cincinnati (28-30), which has won the first three games of the series to improve to 6-2 this season vs. St. Louis.

It was the Reds' 13th come-from-behind victory of the year.

"Sometimes you're just amazed it's happening," Reds manager Bryan Price. "You never get tired of it, I can tell you that. With the offense the way it is and the defense playing well, you always feel like we have a chance."

Raisel Iglesias notched his 11th save. Wandy Peralta (3-1) pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings for the victory.

Matt Carpenter homered for the Cardinals (26-31), who have lost six straight for the first time since 2013.

St. Louis' defeats keep getting more and more brutal. Wednesday marked the 14th time this season the Cardinals led by two or more runs and lost. In five of the six losses during the current streak, they've been leading or tied in the sixth inning or later.

"You're going to go through them," said Cardinals starter Lance Lynn of the team's slide. "You hope that when you do go through them, they're not long."

Reds second baseman Scooter Gennett, coming off his historic four-homer night on Tuesday, went 1-for-4. He grounded hard into a 4-6-3 double play in the second inning to snap his home run streak at four at-bats.

There would be plenty of other heroes for the Reds on Wednesday night, though Cincinnati's starting pitcher wasn't one of them.

Bronson Arroyo's recent struggles against the Cardinals continued when he allowed four runs and eight hits in 5 2/3 innings. In his past 10 starts vs. St. Louis, Arroyo is 0-6 with a 6.34 ERA.

However, the offense picked him up in the seventh.

Cincinnati trailed 4-1 before Schebler and Gennett singled to begin the inning. With one out, Kivlehan launched his first career pinch-hit home run off Brett Cecil, a three-run shot to tie the score.

"I was so pumped for Kiv there," Cozart said. "He was like, 'I didn't even go in there and get loose, I just stepped up and hit.' I told him maybe he should do that more often."

After Cozart's two-out double, Trevor Rosenthal entered the game, and Votto hit a two-run blast on his first pitch to put Cincinnati ahead.

Cecil (0-2) was charged with four runs in two-thirds of an inning.

"We've had some guys throwing some good outings, just getting the consistently good ones is the challenge right now," said Matheny. "That seventh inning certainly stands out as one that's been difficult to get through."

Lynn allowed a run on three hits over five innings but exited after only 78 pitches, leaving things up to the bullpen.

"We'd probably get one more inning (from him)," Matheny said. "We're trying to get a little more room. We've been having trouble scoring runs. Need to try to take a chance."

With two outs in the second inning, Carpenter crushed an 0-1 pitch from Arroyo as estimated 420 feet to center for his 10th home run, putting the Cardinals ahead 1-0.

Later in the inning, Tommy Pham walked and scored on Piscotty's double. Piscotty raced home on Jed Gyorko's single, making the score 3-0.

Lynn didn't allow a hit until Votto's hard grounder caromed off his glove for an infield single with one out in the fourth.

Schebler led off the fifth with his 17th home run of the season on Lynn's first pitch to reduce the Reds' deficit to 3-1.

St. Louis increased its lead to three on Dexter Fowler's pinch-hit RBI double in the sixth. Eric Fryer attempted to score on the play but was thrown out at home on a relay from Gennett.

"We just keep battling, it's fun," Cozart said. "I feel like we've had a lot of those lately where we all of a sudden score four runs in an inning or we have a lead, and we're as confident as ever with our bullpen when we have a lead. It's nice to see us keep battling."

NOTES: Reds SS Zack Cozart doubled in the seventh inning to extend his on-base streak to 29 games, longest active streak in the major leagues. ... The Reds are closer to getting two injured starting pitchers back. RHP Homer Bailey (elbow surgery in February 2017) will begin a rehab assignment with Double-A Pensacola on Friday. LHP Brandon Finnegan (left shoulder strain) threw 2 1/3 innings in a "camp" game in Goodyear, Ariz., on Tuesday with positive reports. ... The Cardinals purchased the contract of INF/OF Chad Huffman and optioned RHP John Gant to Triple-A Memphis.

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