Lynn leads Cardinals into finale with Reds

Lance Lynn has been one of the main reasons the St. Louis Cardinals sit in first place in the National League Central.

The 26-year-old right-hander heads to the mound Sunday night trying to win his fourth straight decision when the Cardinals play the rubber match of a three- game series against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park.

Lynn has been spectacular in his last three starts, allowing a total of three runs over 20 innings. His only loss of the season came May 7 at Wrigley Field.

Over his career, Lynn has compiled a 2-0 mark with a 3.32 ERA in six games (3 starts) when facing the Reds. This will mark his third start versus Cincinnati this season. He's won both previous starts, allowing a single run in each.

Lynn's eight wins on the season are one shy of teammate Adam Wainwright, Arizona's Patrick Corbin and Boston's Clay Buchholz for the major league lead, although a few other pitchers with eight wins also hit the mound Sunday.

Bronson Arroyo aims to build on one of his best starts of the season Sunday for the Reds. The righty blanked the Rockies over eight innings in a 3-0 victory on Monday. He's won four of his last five starts, but is just 8-15 with a 4.54 ERA in 35 games (33 starts) against the Cardinals.

In a 5-1 loss on April 9, Arroyo retired the first 15 batters he faced and then gave up four runs on five hits in the sixth inning. The Reds lost that game, 5-1. Lynn was on the mound in that contest.

Last night, Mat Latos threw seven strong innings to remain unbeaten on the season, and the Reds got homers from Jay Bruce and Devin Mesoraco in a 4-2 victory.

Latos (6-0) surrendered eight hits, a pair of runs and fanned five without allowing a walk. The right-hander, who has made 13 starts this season, has gone 20 straight regular season starts without a loss, going 10-0 in that span. His last regular season defeat came Aug. 24 against the Cardinals at Great American Ball Park.

The Reds, who finished with 10 hits, snapped a three-game skid when they were outscored 26-10.

"They're the guys we're chasing right now," Bruce said of the Cardinals. "We have to continue to play good baseball. They're a good team over there. They're not going to make many mistakes. Tonight we were the better team."

Tyler Lyons (2-2) was charged with six hits and four runs over 5 1/3 innings for the Cardinals, who had won their last two games and had put up 21 runs in that span.

"I thought he did a nice job once again, limiting the damage," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said.

Jon Jay and Allen Craig each drove in a run in defeat.

The Cardinals have three significant hitting streaks alive - David Freese at a career-long 18 games, Matt Carpenter at 17 and Allen Craig with 12.

The Cardinals have not lost a road series since the opening set at Arizona.

With a win in the series finale the Cardinals will capture their fifth straight series against the Reds dating back to last July. St. Louis has won nine of the last 14 meetings.