St. Louis, MO (SportsNetwork.com) - Jhonny Peralta drove in the game-winning run in the 10th inning as the St. Louis Cardinals eked past the struggling Cincinnati Reds, 6-5, in the opener of a three-game series.
Peralta had scored the go-ahead run in the eighth inning, but extras were needed after Trevor Rosenthal blew his fifth save in the ninth.
Matt Holliday and Matt Adams each singled with one away to put runners on the corners for Peralta, whose third hit of the night went over Ryan Ludwick's head in left to cap St. Louis' fifth win in six games.
"When we win a game like that, everybody gets excited," Peralta said. "It's really important right now because we're in good competition."
Adams also recorded three hits with a run scored and an RBI in the victory, which was credited to Nick Greenwood (2-1) for tossing a perfect 10th frame.
Jay Bruce hit a three-run homer and tied the game in the ninth with an RBI double, but the Reds still fell for the sixth time in their last seven games.
Cincinnati needed a strong start from Mike Leake after abusing its bullpen in Sunday's disastrous doubleheader against the Rockies.
Leake gave them seven innings but allowed four runs on eight hits, the last a gapper to pinch-hitter Daniel Descalso that broke a 4-4 tie in the seventh.
Zack Cozart popped out in foul territory to leave the bases loaded in the top of the eighth, and the Cardinals went ahead in the bottom half.
Peralta kept the inning alive with a two-out double to the gap in left, and A.J. Pierzynski drove him in with a base hit to center.
Rosenthal, who was pulled in a sloppy save situation on Sunday, failed to close it out in the ninth. Billy Hamilton worked a one-out walk, stole second and moved to third when Pierzynski's throw sailed into center field.
Bruce drove a liner down the first-base line past a diving Adams to knock in Hamilton, but was stranded on second thanks to Jon Jay making a terrific over- the-shoulder grab in deep right on a ball hit by Todd Frazier.
"They made a couple of great plays in right field," Reds manager Bryan Price said of the Cardinals. "It helped prevent us from scoring and create more separation."
The Cardinals scored a pair of two-out runs off Leake in the first inning. Adams hit a one-hopper off the wall in right-center, and Holliday lumbered around to score from first.
The usually sure-handed Bruce tried making a diving catch on a Peralta liner to right but missed it, bringing in another run.
Holliday snapped an 0-for-18 slump with an RBI single through a drawn-in infield in the third, and the 3-0 lead held until the Reds solved Justin Masterson for four runs in the fifth.
Cozart followed up Brayan Pena's leadoff double with one of his own to bring in the first run, and after Masterson plunked Leake, Bruce sent a no-doubter into the right-field seats to give Cincinnati its first lead.
Masterson's line was four runs allowed on five hits and two walks ... The Reds activated second baseman Brandon Phillips from the disabled list. Phillips, who had not played since July 9 with a thumb injury, went 0-for-4 with a walk ... The Reds have lost their last 10 three-game series against St. Louis.