ST. LOUIS — Carlos Martinez came on to close things out in the ninth, making short work of the final three Reds.
A ground out and two strikeouts sealed the deal for the Birds, who are guaranteed a playoff spot if the Brewers fall in Pittsburgh.
A final run
The Reds shot themselves in the foot in the seventh, once again allowing the Cardinals to answer.
Kolten Wong singled and went to second on a Holliday grounder, but got caught in between when Peralta hit a chopper to third. He was eventually out in the rundown, and Peralta stood on first.
With Grichuk batting, reliever Jumbo Diaz threw over to first trying to pick Peralta off. He was already running to second, and when Todd Frazier threw to the bag, it sailed away.
With a man in scoring position, Grichuk bounced one to third. Negron’s throw was way high and would have scored Peralta, but the ball was ruled foul.
On the next pitch, the right fielder looped a ball into shallow right, and two Reds collided trying to make the play. Peralta scored from second on mistake, and the Cardinals had an 8-4 lead.
Cozart crushes one
Home runs are writing the story Saturday, as the Reds hit their first to pull back to within three.
Zack Cozart hit a towering shot to begin the seventh, sending it nearly to the concourse in left field. Gonzales got the next two Reds with ease, but a Kolten Wong throwing error gave the Reds a breath of life.
It was enough for Matheny to go to the bullpen, bringing in Seth Maness to close out the frame. The reliever did was he does best, stranding the runner and getting the strikeout.
Grichuk hits a goner
St. Louis will not led the Reds stay in the game, continually pushing the lead every time Cincinnati scores.
Randal Grichuk began the bottom of the sixth at the plate, pinch hitting for Oscar Taveras against the lefty Ryan Dennick. He quickly moved the lead back to four with a homer into left center. It was the second pinch hit home run of the year for the Cardinals.
Yadier Molina singled next, and when Daniel Descalso walked, the Reds brought in Pedro Villareal. The replacement quickly struck out Tony Cruz and Marco Gonzales, and got Jon Jay to line to center to end the damage.
Cincinnati closes gap
Marco Gonzales was greeted rudely by the Reds, as Devin Mesoraco led off the sixth with a double.
A ground out to second followed, moving the catcher to third despite a beautiful play from Wong.
Bruce’s sacrifice fly made the game 6-3, but Gonzales was able to finish out the inning and limit the damage to one
Another Cardinal crosses
The Cardinals picked up another two-out RBI in the fifth when Kolten Wong drew a walk following two quick outs.
Matt Holliday wasted no time in making Leake pay for the mistake, smashing a ball into right field toward the corner. Wong was running all the way, and when the ball skipped past Jay Bruce, he was headed for home.
Peralta lined out behind holliday, but the Cardinals had stretched the lead to 6-2 for Marco Gonzales.
Wacha was bounced in the fifth inning when he allowed a second run.
After a leadoff single from Zack Cozart, two fly balls looked to put the Reds’ charge in serious jeopardy.
Kris Negron kept things alive with his second double of the night, this time sending a ball rattling off the wall in left. Cozart scored, and with two outs and a man on second, Matheny came to get his starter.
Wacha finished with 4.2 innings, allowing six hits and two runs. He tossed 78 pitches over that time, appearing to work harder as the game went along.
Motte came in and coaxed a fly ball to end the inning, and the Cardinals lead 5-2.
A run for the Reds
The Reds scratched a run across in the fourth with a little help from Michael Wacha. After seeing-eye single landed along the line in shallow right field for Todd Frazier, the St. Louis starter got an out on a fly ball to center.
Unfortunately, he let go of a wild pitch during Brandon Phillips’ at bat, moving Frazier to second. When Phillips flared a ball into left, Frazier was able to score, making the contest 5-1. Two outs followed to close the frame, and the Cards held a four run advantage.
The long balls kept flying in the third, when Kolten Wong sent his 12th homer of the year into the right field seats. Jon Jay, who hat been hit by a pitch for the 20th time, was standing on first.
On an 0-2 count, Wong turned on a Mike Leake sinker and gave the Cardinals a 5-0 lead.
Three quick outs followed, but Michael Wacha heads into the fourth having thrown just 41 pitches and carrying a comfortably cushion,
Tony Cruz is on a tear. The third-string catcher, getting the start behind the plate Saturday, gave the Cardinals a 3-0 lead in the second when he hit his first home run of the season.
After nine scoreless outs in the game, the Cardinals came to the plate in the bottom of the second and began things with a single from Jhonny Peralta.
A double play followed on an impressive play by Brandon Phillips, but Yadier Molina got things going again with a double into right. Daniel Descalso walked to bring up Cruz, and on a 3-2 count, he hammered a line drive into the left field stands.