The Cincinnati Reds picked up right where they left off in battering Adam Wainwright, and made up ground on the St. Louis Cardinals by posting a 7-2 win in the opener of a crucial four-game set at Great American Ball Park.
Joey Votto and Shin-Soo Choo homered for the Reds, who currently hold the National League's second wild card spot. Monday's win, however, pulled them to within 2 1/2 games of the Cardinals, who trail Pittsburgh by one game for first place in the NL Central.
Cincinnati scored in each of the first four innings against Wainwright (15-9) after roughing up the St. Louis right-hander in his most recent outing. Wainwright surrendered a career-high nine runs in two innings of work last Wednesday against the Reds, marking the shortest start of his career.
"He's searching and trying to figure out what it is," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said about Wainwright's struggles.
Mat Latos (14-5) scattered four hits while tossing his first complete game this season for Cincinnati. He kept the Cardinals off the board in all but one inning to match a career high for wins in a single season.
Latos' lone hiccup came in the third, when Matt Carpenter doubled home Wainwright and scored on Matt Holliday's sacrifice fly.
Ryan Ludwick ignited the Reds' early outburst with a two-out single that plated Choo in the first.
Zack Cozart then followed Todd Frazier's leadoff, ground-rule double in the second with a run-scoring single and scored on Choo's blast to right-center field.
Frazier singled home Jay Bruce, who doubled twice, in the third, and Votto launched a two-out shot the opposite way to left-center field in the fourth.
"To be able to jump on (Wainwright) like that and take advantage of that was really helpful on my end as much as it was the team," Latos said.
Bruce drew a bases-loaded walk in the eighth.
Latos retired 21 of the last 22 batters he faced. He also won 14 games in 2010 and last year ... Wainwright allowed 10 hits over six innings. He struck out three to tie Dizzy Dean (1,095) for second place on the Cardinals' all-time list ... St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina was removed in the bottom of the fifth with left wrist soreness. He is listed as day-to-day ... The Reds activated catcher Corky Miller (right quad contusion) from the 15-day disabled list, selected the contract of outfielder Billy Hamilton and recalled infielder Neftali Soto from Triple-A Louisville on Monday. Pitcher Pedro Villarreal was designated for assignment to clear a spot for Hamilton, the Reds' No. 1 prospect as ranked by MLB.com, on the 40-man roster ... The Reds opened a 10-game homestand.