Cardinals knock around Reds, take series
Cincinnati, OH – Lance Lynn tossed eight strong innings and the St. Louis Cardinals pounded Cincinnati pitching for 19 hits in a 15-2 throttling of the Reds that capped a three-game series between the NL Central rivals from Great American Ball Park.
Every St. Louis starter other than Lynn finished with at least two hits to help the right-hander become the National League's third 13-game winner this season. Ten of the Cardinals' hits went for extra bases, including three that left the yard.
David Freese led the outburst by going 3-for-4 with a solo homer, two RBI and three runs scored, while Matt Adams and Tony Cruz also homered while finishing with two RBI and a pair of hits each. Jon Jay added three hits and two RBI, with Matt Carpenter knocking in a pair of runs as well as part of a 2-for-5 day at the plate.
The victory was St. Louis's third in four outings following a season-high seven-game losing streak, and the Cardinals put up double-digit runs in each of those wins.
"We go out there and grind at-bats out, we battle," said Jay. "Whenever we have that attitude we can get good results."
Lynn (13-5) did his part on the mound as well, limiting the Reds to four hits and striking out a season-best 11 batters to join teammate Adam Wainwright and Washington's Jordan Zimmermann for the NL lead in wins.
Zack Cozart smacked a two-run homer for Cincinnati in the second inning, but Lynn retired the next 13 batters en route to dealing the Reds a seventh loss in their last nine games.
"I had pretty good command of all four pitches today, and I was able to use most of them to both sides of the plate," said Lynn. "I made one mistake that cost me two runs, but other than that it was a pretty good day."
Lynn entered the matchup tied for the NL lead in run support and received some immediate aid from his offense in this one as well, as the Cardinals strung together four straight two-out hits against Reds starter Mike Leake that produced four first-inning runs.
Matt Holliday and Freese delivered back-to-back RBI doubles after an Allen Craig single to put St. Louis on the board, with Adams following with a blast into the right-field stands to stake Lynn to a 4-0 advantage.
Leake did settle down thereafter, and Cozart cut Cincinnati's deficit in half by reaching the seats with Jay Bruce aboard in the bottom of the second.
Lynn didn't allow another baserunner until Joey Votto singled to open the bottom of the seventh, however, and St. Louis was holding a sizeable lead by that point after breaking out again an inning prior.
Leake kept the Cardinals scoreless for four straight frame until running into trouble in the sixth, when Holliday, Freese and Adams each singled in succession to chase the right-hander and extend the Cardinals' edge to 5-2.
Cruz then greeted reliever Logan Ondrusek with a sharp single up the middle that plated Freese, with Daniel Descalso continuing the barrage with an RBI double and Carpenter later making it a 9-2 game with a line-drive double off the right-field wall that brought in two more runs.
Leake (10-5) was charged with allowing seven of the runs on eight hits over five-plus innings of work.
Freese's sixth homer of the season, an opposite-field blast off Pedro Villarreal to begin the seventh, increased the lead to 10-2, and the Cardinals tacked on another run in the eighth when Craig knocked in Carpenter with a single.
St. Louis finished off the rout by rocking Sam LeCure for four runs on five hits in the ninth. Cruz got it started with a one-out solo homer in front of back-to-back doubles from Descalso and Rob Johnson that pushed the margin to 13-2. After a Carpenter single put two men on, Jay sent both home with a double to left-center that culminated the scoring.
"I don't like to be embarrassed by my team," an unhappy Reds manager Dusty Baker said afterward. "Fortunately for us, we get to rest and regroup [with an off day] tomorrow."
The Reds have now lost six consecutive series to the Cardinals for the first times since June 24, 2003-August 18, 2004, with three of those sets taking place in Cincinnati. The Cardinals have prevailed in eight of 12 matchups between the clubs this season ... Lynn's strikeout total was one shy of his career high of 12, set against the Chicago White Sox on June 13, 2012, and his 31 wins over the last two seasons are tied with Detroit's Max Scherzer for tops in the majors ... Reds third baseman Jeff Frazier went 0-for-3 and is hitless in 28 straight at-bats, the longest by a Cincinnati position player since Drew Stubbs had an 0-for-32 skid last season.