The St. Louis Cardinals have found their offensive groove again.
With 13 runs and wins in each of their last two games, the Cardinals are knocking on the door of first place again in the NL Central going into Saturday night's game in Cincinnati.
The pitching has also been spectacular in the last two contests, and Saturday Jake Westbrook aims to bounce back from a Monday loss at Pittsburgh. The right-hander allowed four hits and four runs in five innings of a 9-2 final. Westbrook is 4-2 with a 3.36 ERA in 11 games (10 starts) when facing the Reds. That includes a five-hit shutout on April 10 this year at Busch Stadium.
Tony Cingrani, who faces the Cardinals for the first time in his career, is coming off a one-hit, 11-strikeout performance over seven innings in a no- decision at Dodger Stadium on Sunday.
On Friday, Daniel Descalso had his first career multi-homer game and David Freese drove in four runs, as the Cardinals walloped the Reds, 13-3.
Descalso, who was one of three players with three hits for St. Louis, belted a solo homer in the fifth inning off Curtis Partch and added another solo shot in the seventh against Logan Ondrusek. Allen Craig also went deep and knocked in three runs. Jon Jay had three RBI and Carlos Beltran went 3-for-3 with four runs scored.
The Cardinals, who were overtaken by the Pirates in the NL Central after losing four of five in Pittsburgh, have cranked up the offense the last two nights. They ripped the Pirates, 13-0, on Thursday.
"Our guys put so much pressure on themselves offensively. It was frustrating for quite a few days. It's nice to see some energy," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said.
Shelby Miller (11-7) had eight strikeouts over five-plus innings to win for the third time in four decisions.
Joey Votto clubbed a three-run homer for the Reds, who lost for the sixth time in seven contests.
Bronson Arroyo (9-9) was shelled for eight hits and seven runs in a season- short 3 2/3 innings.
"If I would have taken him out in the second or third, we would have been in worse shape now that we would have," Reds manager Dusty Baker said of his bullpen.
The Reds haven't played well against St. Louis this season and are just 3-7 in the 10 matchups between the division foes. The Cardinals have won five of the last six games in this series.