(BaseballStL) — The Cardinals would go down in a string if pinch hitters in the ninth. Matheny sent Mark Ellis, Peter Bourjos and Tommy Pham up to face Aroldis Chapman in the ninth, and none had a prayer.
The Reds closer hit 103 MPH a handful of times on his way to a clean inning, preserving the 4-2 win for Cincinnati.
An empty eighth
St. Louis gave the Reds a two-out scare in the eighth, bringing the winning run to the plate with two out.
Jon Jay picked up his 18th HBP of the season with two away, and now leads Matt Holliday for the MLB lead. With Jay aboard, Holliday decided to make contact with the bat instead, singling into left to put two aboard for Matt Adams.
Bryan Price had seen enough, going with lefty Ryan Dennick to face the Cardinal first baseman over Sam LeCure.
Adams would pop up, ending the threat.
Reds pad lead but fail to put Birds away
The Cardinals played themselves against a wall in the fifth, when they gave away two outs.
Chris Heisey singled to lead things off, but looked to be out quickly when Pena grounded a ball up the middle. Wong gloved it, but couldn’t get it out of his mitt to flip to Kozma. He tried to throw to first, but Pena was safe.
Lyons would let go of a wild pitch to Todd Frazier to move both players up to second and third with no outs.
He would come back to strike Frazier out on a full count, and then intentionally walk Devin Mesoraco to load the bases.
Matheny would go to double play specialist Seth Maness with the sacks full and one out, and the hitter would be Brandon Phillips.
On a 3-2 count, Maness got his grounder, but it went through the hole at short to score Heisey. The Reds would send Pena around third, but Matt Holliday came up with a strong throw to beat him easily at home for the second out.
A line drive followed, but Wong was positioned perfectly to snare it for the final out.
Simon swings for lead
Alfredo Simon gave himself a lead in the fourth, following a tough play in the outfield.
Jay Bruce flared a ball between Wong and Taveras, and neither could come up with it. It dropped in for a single, but Tyler Lyons got the next two reds without trouble.
Simon wouldn’t let the Cards off the hook, slapping a ball into right to score Bruce. He would record a double but be thrown out at second base on a base running gaffe to end the inning.
The Cardinals lost Lackey in the third, but it wasn’t for poor performance. Home plate umpire Tom Hallion tossed the St. Louis starter as he was preparing to throw a 3-1 pitch to Pena.
Lackey had been looking back into home plate after certain pitchers were not called strikes, and with two of the three balls in Pena’s count at least borderline, Lackey was visibly frustrated.
Hallion and Molina had strong words before the 3-1 pitch, and as the ump went back behind the plate, Lackey began rubbing the ball. Hallion came back out from behind the plate and tossed him, appearing infuriated.
Lackey seemed puzzled and Mike Matheny came out of the dugout in shock. After a long argument on the mound, the starter was walked off by his manager and Tyler Lyons was tapped.
Hallion had been home plate umpire for Lackey five times before Wednesday. The starter was 3-1 with 26 strikeouts and seven walks in those games.
Lyons would get out of the inning without damage.
Pena prevents disaster
St. Louis had a shot at more in the third, when Matt Carpenter led off the inning with his 84th walk. Jon Jay singled behind him two put two on and bring up the remaining two Matts.
Holliday struck out, but Matt Adams sent a rocket down the first base line.
Unfortunately for the Birds, Brayan Pena was there to rob an extra-base hit once again. He snared the ball and doubled up Jay, who had no chance to get back in time.
Ludwick goes long
Ryan Ludwick tied the game with one swing in the second, ripping his ninth homer of the year to left field on a line.
It came on a fastball, and the at bat was sandwiched between a strikeout and a ground out.
Alfredo Simon made Lackey work, however, picking up a double down the third base line. It was his second two-base hit of the year, and it forced the Cardinal starter to face the leadoff man Chris Heisey.
He would pop up to short, but Lackey finished two innings with 38 pitches.
Lackey leaks a run
John Lackey immediately put the Reds back in the game in the bottom half of the first, walking the leadoff man and giving up a sharp single to right.
With Chris Heisey on third and Brayan Pena on first, Todd Frazier slapped the first pitch he saw into left field to score Cincinnati’s first run.
Lackey would get some help from Tuesday’s star Devin Mesoraco, as the catcher grounded into a 6-4-3 double play.
One would be all the Reds picked up, as Brandon Phillips flew out to center with a man on third to end the inning.
The Cards cross first
The Cardinals got on the board early against Simon, turning a two-out walk into a 2-0 lead.
Matt Holliday drew the free pass, and with a 3-1 count, Matt Adams sent him tearing around the bases with a double. The ball went into the right field corner, buying Holliday enough time to score from first. The throw was close, but the big left fielder’s slide was enough to make him safe.
Two pitches later, Taveras would make Adams run the remaining 180 feet, singling to right. It was the rookie’s 21st RBI and it gave the Cardinals a two-run advantage.
Yadier Molina would ground out to end the inning.