There were more late-inning theatrics for the Cardinals on Tuesday, as they scored once in the eighth to tie and once in the ninth to win, beating the floundering Cincinnati Reds 5-4 at Busch Stadium.
Matt Holliday led off the ninth with a walk and went to third on a single to right by Matt Adams. Peter Bourjos pinch ran for Holliday and, after Jhonny Peralta walked to load the bases, Jon Jay was hit by a pitch on the foot to drive in the winning run.
Pat Neshek, who pitched the ninth with the game tied, improved to 6-0. The Cardinals kept pace with the Brewers, who beat Toronto 6-1.
On Monday, the Cardinals scored a run in the seventh to tie, a run in the eighth to take the lead and then, after giving up a run in the ninth to send it to extra innings, won it in the 10th.
On Tuesday, they scored twice in the sixth and once in the eighth to get even after falling behind 4-1 in the top of the sixth.
With one out in the eighth, Jay drew a walk from Reds reliever Jumbo Diaz – who blew a save on Monday -- and was still on first after Oscar Taveras struck out. A.J. Pierzynski pinch hit for Tony Cruz and singled to left, with Ryan Ludwick doing an excellent job of keeping the ball from getting to the wall and holding Jay at third. Up next was Daniel Descalso, pinch hitting for pitcher Seth Maness, and he doubled to left field, scoring Jay and sending Pierzynski to third. Matt Carpenter walked and the Reds took out Diaz for J.J. Hoover. He faced Kolten Wong, who hit a fly ball that Billy Hamilton caught on the warning track in center.
Cardinals starter John Lackey allowed just four hits in six innings and struck out seven, but one of those hits was a two-run center and two errors led to two runs in the sixth.
Matt Holliday and Carpenter each couldn't make plays in the sixth, with Holliday dropping a fly ball after a long run for a two-base error, and then Carpenter not handling a hard-hit grounder by Devin Mesoraco that loaded the bases with one out. Ludwick followed with a two-run double that extended the Reds' lead to 4-1.
The Cardinals got those two runs back in the bottom of the inning but let a chance for more slip away. Jhonny Peralta hit his 17th home run of the season, setting the Cardinals record for homers in a season by a shortstop, and Jon Jay followed with a single to chase Reds starter Alfredo Simon. Oscar Taveras singled Jay to second and after Cruz struck out, pinch hitter Shane Robinson drove in Jay, but Taveras was thrown out going to third to end the inning.
The Cardinals scored in the second on a series that began with Lackey's first hit of the season in five at-bats. He eventually scored on a single by Holliday. The Cardinals loaded the bases with two out, but Peralta flew out to end the inning.
The Reds went ahead in the fourth on a two-run homer by Todd Frazier to center field. Lackey had retired the first nine hitters he faced before Billy Hamilton singled to start the fourth.
PINCH HITS GET CARDS EVEN
The Cardinals' bench came through in the eighth inning, getting two hits as they tied the game with the Reds at 4-4.
With one out in the eighth, Jon Jay drew a walk from Reds reliever Jumbo Diaz – who blew a save on Monday -- and was still on first after Oscar Taveras struck out. A.J. Pierzynski pinch hit for Tony Cruz and singled to left, with Ryan Ludwick doing an excellent job of keeping the ball from getting to the wall and holding Jay at third. Up next was Daniel Descalso, pinch hitting for pitcher Seth Maness, and he doubled to left field, scoring Jay and sending Pierzynski to third. Matt Carpenter walked and the Reds took out Diaz for J.J. Hoover. He faced Kolten Wong, who hit a fly ball that Billy Hamilton caught on the warning track in center.
PERALTA SETS HOMER MARK
Jhonny Peralta hit a blast a little to the left of Big Mac Land in left field as the Cardinals trimmed the Reds lead to 4-3 after six innings on Saturday at Busch Stadium.
The home run was the 17th of the season for Peralta, the most by a Cardinals shortstop in one season. He had been tied with Edgar Renteria and Darryl Spencer for the record.
The homer measured 438 feet -- longer than Todd Frazier's two-run blast to center field in the fourth. Jon Jay followed with a single to chase Reds starter Alfredo Simon (who threw 109 pitches), and Oscar Taveras singled to put the tying run on base. Reds reliever Sam LeCure struck out Tony Cruz and pinch hitter Shane Robinson singled to center. Jay scored but Taveras was thrown out at third (score it 8-3-5).
John Lackey's line was six innings, four hits, four runs (two earned), one walk and seven strikeouts. He threw 91 pitches, 65 for strikes. Randy Choate came in to pitch.
ERRORS ALLOW REDS TO UP LEAD TO 4-1 ON CARDS
Two errors allowed the Reds to score twice in the sixth inning and open up a 4-1 lead on the Cardinals on Tuesday night at Busch Stadium.
Matt Holliday made a long run to the line with one out and had Jay Bruce's fly ball in his glove, but couldn't hold on it as Bruce got to second. Todd Frazier walked and Devin Mesoraco hit a sharp grounder to Matt Carpenter at third that he didn't field cleanly and his throw to first was a flash late. (Manager Mike Matheny came out to talk about the play, but didn't ask for a review.) With the bases loaded, Ryan Ludwick doubled into the left-field corner, scoring Bruce and Frazier and putting runners on second and third.
John Lackey got Brandon Phillips to ground out with the runners holding and then Brayan Pena flew out to center. Both runs were unearned.
The Cardinals didn't have anyone up in the bullpen, and still don't, so it looks like Lackey will be back for the seventh.
REDS WAKE UP, TAKE 2-1 LEAD
The Reds, baffled by Cards starter John Lackey through three innings, figured him out in the fourth, taking a 2-1 lead on a homer by Todd Frazier.
Lacket had retired the first nine batters he faced, striking out five. Reds speedster Billy Hamilton beat out a ground ball that Kolten Wong fielded behing second base to break up the no-hitter. Hamilton went to third when Lackey threw away a pickoff attempt. He got an out without allowing a run when Jay Bruce hit a sharp grounder to Jhonny Peralta at short, but there was no catching Frazier's home run on to the hill behind center field. The homer measured 424 feet and was Frazier's 21st of the year.
IT'S ALL LACKEY THROUGH THREE
John Lackey has retired the first nine batters he has faced and scored the game's first run as the Cardinals took a 1-0 lead after three innings on Tuesday night at Busch Stadium.
Lackey, who came into the game 0 for 4 at the plate this season, singled to deep right center with one out in the third. It might have been a double for some, but for Lackey, he was content with a single. Matt Carpenter singled Lackey to second. Kolten Wong flew out to short left but Matt Holliday folowed with a sharp single to center and, to the surprise of some, Lackey came around to score.
Holliday went to second on the throw home and the Reds intentionally walked Matt Adams to load the bases, but Reds starter Alfredo Simon got out of the inning, getting Jhonny Peralta to fly out to shallow center.
On the mound, Lackey has been dominant, striking out five of the first nine hitters he faced and getting through three innings with just 33 pitches.
LACKEY GOES FOR SECOND WIN AS A CARDINAL
John Lackey looks for his second win since joining the Cardinals when he faces the Cincinnati Reds at 7:15 tonight at Busch Stadium.
This will be Lackey's fourth start since joining the Cardinals in a trade with the Red Sox. He won the first, lost the second, and had no decision in the third. He went seven innings in two of the three games.
This is just the second time in his career Lackey has faced the Reds. The other was in 2007. He won that game, but there's really nothing from that game that has any relevance to this game.
"He's ... another consistent, stable starter," manager Mike Matheny said. "He's just a pro big-leaguer that knows how to go about preparing and putting together a game plan. He's another great example for our young pitchers to watch."
Only one change in the Cards' lineup from Monday: Tony Cruz starts at catcher instead of A.J. Pierzynski.
The Cardinals made a roster move before the game, putting Mark Ellis on the disabled list with an oblique strain and calling up Greg Garcia from Memphis.
The current Cardinals have hit just .207 against Reds starter Alfredo Simon, though they haven't faced him this year. They faced him as a relief pitcher eight times last season. The best Card against Simon is Matt Adams, who was 2 for 2 with a homer and a double, for a 1.000 batting average and a 3.000 slugging percentage. Nobody else is better than .250 against him.
Though Matheny wouldn't say it, it's pretty likely that struggling closer Trevor Rosenthal won't be available tonight. Rosenthal threw 18 pitches on Sunday and 22 on Monday, so even under ideal conditions he might not be available today. But with the struggles that have come with those 40 pitches, he'll probably get the night off.
Matheny said it was unlikely that he would look for a non-save situation to use Rosenthal to let him get some extra work. "We've hardly done that all season long," he said. "Either a ninth-inning tie situation or a save, that's basically all we're using him for."
The Cardinals start the night 2 1/2 games back of Milwaukee in the NL Central and in first place in the NL wild-card race. Milwaukee is in Toronto tonight, starting at 7:10 p.m.
1. Carpenter 3B
2. Wong 2B
3. Holliday LF
4. Adams 1B
5. Peralta SS
6. Jay CF
7. Taveras RF
8. Cruz C
9. Lackey RHP
Reds manager Bryan Price is going with his same lineup:
1. Hamilton cf
2. Bruce rf
3. Frazier 3b
4. Mesoraco c
5. Ludwick lf
6. Phillips 2b
7. Pena 1b
8. Cozart ss
9. Simon RHP