CINCINNATI • Todd Frazier had two home runs and the Cincinnati Reds continued to add to their lead throughout the even with a total of four home runs Thursday at Great American Ball Park.
As a result that cut into the Cardinals' lead in the standings.
The Reds toppled the second-place Cardinals, 6-2, to complete a series victory during the Cardinals' four-game visit to GABP. The Reds ended a streak of seven consecutive lost series against their division rivals. In doing so, Cincinnati shaved the Cardinals' lead ahead of them to 1 1/2 games.
The idle first-place Pittsburgh Pirates remained three games ahead of the Reds. The Cardinals are 1 1/2 games behind the Pirates.
Pittsburgh visits for a three-game series this weekend at Busch.
The Cardinals never lead in the game Thursday night, quieted early by lefty Tony Cingrani and then meandering late against the bullpen. The Cardinals cut Cincy's early lead down to 3-1 in the top of the fifth inning, but the Reds answered. They scored one run in six consecutive innings to take the lead and then extend it.
Lance Lynn took the loss, his fifth consecutive.
The righty pitched five innings but had to tiptoe around trouble a majority of the evening. He allowed four runs on seven hits and four walks.
Carpenter runs Cards into game, chases Cingrani
Although they had far different outings tonight, it wasn't long after the Cardinals removed starter Lance Lynn from the game that they also chased Reds lefty Tony Cingrani from it.
Matt Carpenter got it started.
Sun rises in the East.
In the sixth inning, Carpenter struck a one-out triple to get the Cardinals' second rally going and begin the end for Cingrani. Carpenter scored from third on a wild pitch to put the score at 4-2, Reds leading. That's where the score is now as I type this entering the bottom of the sixth inning.
Zach Duke entered the game with two runners on base and ended the inning and the threat with a double play from Carlos Beltran.
Cingrani struck out seven and walked three in his 5 1/3 innings of work. The lefty allowed two runs on four hits. He didn't get much further than Lynn did. The Cardinals righty had another abbreviated and complex outing. He allowed four runs on seven hits through five innings. Three of the four runs came on solo home runs.
I mentioned earlier that Seth Maness was warming up in the Cardinals bullpen. He was. But it was Sam Freeman who entered the game to take over for Lynn.
The game is in the hands of the bullpens now.
Lynn unsteady but offense meek early vs. Reds
To borrow the word manager Mike Matheny used earlier this week to describe Lance Lynn's focus on the mound, the first few innings of his start tonight were ... cluttered.
The Reds lead 4-1 as a result of the early mayhem and now home runs in three consecutive innings.
It took Lynn 27 pitches to get through the first inning.
It took him 52 pitches to get through two innings.
By the time he threw that 60th pitch of the game -- a 89-mph flutter -- the Reds had a 2-0 lead because Todd Frazier ripped that pitch into the left-field seats at Great American Ball Park. Lynn walked three batters in the first inning to load the bases, but he pitched out of it because all three walks came with two outs.
Lynn elevated a fastball to Frazier to strike him out and end the inning.
The second was just as complicated for Lynn, though he didn't get the help necessary from the defense. Ryan Jackson, starting at shortstop failed to make an out on a groundball into the hole between him and third baseman David Freese. Jackson fielded the ball and skipped a throw to second base -- but Shin-Soo Choo was there safely and that allowed Tony Cingrani, the pitcher, to score.
Lynn collected himself after a long pause and a visit from pitching coach Derek Lilliquist. Lynn struck out Joey Votto to end the inning.
Three homers followed in the next three innings.
Frazier's came in the third, Choo hit one in the fourth, and Jay Bruce catapulted a home run to center field to lead off the fifth inning.
The Cardinals offense was held mostly silent by Cingrani through the first four innings. Cingrani struck out the side in the second inning, and at one stretch had five strikeouts in the span of six batters. Shane Robinson was caught stealing in the fourth inning and a double play erased a walk from Cingrani to keep the fourth inning eventful for the Cardinals.
In the fifth, Freese opened the inning with a homer on the first pitch he saw. The ball hit the batter's eye in straightaway center field at GABP for Freese's seventh home run of the season.
Bruce answered to give the Reds back the three-run lead and to start the Cardinals' bullpen moving with Seth Maness warming up.
Jackson makes first start at shortstop
Since Aug. 5, the Cardinals have received eight hits in 100 at-bats from their shortstops.
So on Sept. 5, they're trying something new: a shortstop who had one extra-base hit in his last two months at Triple-A Memphis.
Ryan Jackson, who batted .223 in 170 at-bats during July and August, bumps Pete Kozma (0 for his last 33 at-bats) and Daniel Descalso (3 for 30) to make his first start at shortstop for the Cardinals tonight.
Jackson's bat actually offers some hope because the Reds are starting lefthander Tony Cingrani, and Jackson had strong numbers against lefties this season. He batted .278 overall at Memphis, but hit .331 with a .397 on-base percentage in 166 at-bats against lefthanders.
Yadier Molina will rest tonight after catching Wednesday's 16-inning game. Tony Cruz, who was on the DL with a forearm injury and originally was not going to swing a bat until this weekend, suddenly is well enough to start at catcher tonight.
Regular first baseman Allen Craig is in St. Louis having his injured left foot examined. STLtoday.com will have more information on Craig's injury as soon as it's available.
1. Carpenter, 2B
2. Robinson, CF
3. Holliday, LF
4. Beltran, RF
5. Freese, 3B
6. Adams, 1B
7. Cruz, C
8. Jackson, SS
9. Lynn, P
1. Choo, CF
2. Phillips, 2B
3. Votto, 1B
4. Bruce, RF
5. Ludwick, LF
6. Frazier, 3B
7. Cozart, SS
8. Hanigan, C
9. Cingrani, P