Carpenter, Cardinals beat Reds 4-1

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Chris Carpenter beat Cincinnati for the eighth straight start, allowing four hits in eight innings as the St. Louis Cardinals pulled into a first-place tie with the Reds in the NL Central with a 4-1 victory Wednesday night.

Matt Holliday homered and Skip Schumaker, Ryan Ludwick and Brendan Ryan all had two hits and an RBI to back Carpenter, who silenced the NL's top offense to help St. Louis take two of three. Holliday hit his sixth homer, and only second at home, leading off the seventh against Logan Ondrusek for a 4-1 lead.

Scott Rolen had an RBI single for the Reds, following a two-homer game. But he made a key mistake on the basepaths when he was struck by Jay Bruce's grounder, a ball that first baseman Albert Pujols had no chance at, with runners on first and third for the second out of the seventh.

Carpenter (7-1) got another big out himself in the seventh, striking out Jonny Gomes for the second out. Gomes had entered the game with an NL-leading .459 average with runners in scoring position.

Gomes was shaky in the field, charging a ball in left field that sailed over his head for a gift RBI triple by Ryan in the fourth for the Cardinals' first run.

Carpenter has beaten Cincinnati three times this year and has a 1.09 ERA during the eight-game winning streak that dates to Aug. 15, 2006. He improved to 15-1 against the NL Central the last two years, retiring 13 straight in one stretch with four strikeouts and no walks.

Rookie Sam LeCure (1-1) allowed three runs in 5 1-3 innings in his second career start, missing a chance to become the first Reds pitcher to win his first two outings since Larry Luebbers in 1993.

Kyle McClellan worked the ninth for his first save, and fifth of his career, a day after closer Ryan Franklin worked two innings in a one-run loss.

NOTES: Reds RHP Homer Bailey (shoulder) is eligible to come off the DL on Tuesday and manager Dusty Baker says "Homer's optimistic all the time about getting back in it." ... St. Louis Rams QB Sam Bradford, the No. 1 pick of the draft, is scheduled to throw out the first pitch Friday before the Cardinals play Milwaukee. ... Cardinals IF Felipe Lopez felt fine a day after bruising his right thumb on a fielding error, but was not in the lineup. ... Cardinals RHP Adam Ottavino was available for bullpen duty if needed but remained on track to start Saturday. ... Cardinals RHP Brad Penny, on the DL with an upper back strain, has played light catch the last two days but there's no timetable for his return. He's eligible to be activated Sunday. ... Stadium personnel surrounded and tackled a young male who ran onto the field at the end of the fifth. ... Reds LHP Arthur Rhodes got three outs in the seventh and hasn't allowed a run in 20 2-3 innings, longest by a reliever in the majors this season.