September 22, 2015

Cards nip Reds to bring magic number out of double figures

ST. LOUIS--BUSCH STADIUM--The St. Louis Cardinals have yet to solve for Cincinnati Reds' starter, John Lamb, who has now pitched 11 scoreless innings versus the Redbirds. Attacking the Cincy bullpen, however, is quite another story as St. Louis comes back in the eighth inning with a couple runs that would lead to a 2-1 edging of the Reds.

The Cardinals' magic number to win the N.L. Central Division is nine. St. Louis has already clinched a playoff spot.

Lamb earned no decision, not much reward for his stellar performance against the team with the MLB's best record. Oddly, Lamb hasn't done that well against the rest of his foes, his ERA over six when facing anyone other than the Cardinals.

Reds' reliever, J.J. Hoover (8-2) gets a blown save as well as the loss.

Cardinals' starting pitcher, Jaime Garcia also earned no decision, giving up five hits in seven full innings of work. Garcia allowed one run, earned, walked two, and struck out five.

The Reds put their only run on the scoreboard in the top of the first inning off a Brandon Phillips RBI single.

Reliever Jhonathan Broxton (3-5), who has had difficulties coming out of the pen, becomes the pitcher of record for his one inning in relief in the eighth, giving up one hit and striking out one.

Just after Broxton's shutout inning, the Cardinals mounted a small comeback, enough to go out in front to stay.

Tommy Pham brings his hot back back to Busch, tripling to lead off the bottom of the eighth for St. Louis. After a Jason Heyward ground out, Johnny Peralta singles to right field, bringing home Pham to tie the game at one-apiece.

Cardinals' manager, Mike Matheny, brings in Peter Bourjos to pinch-run for Peralta at first base, a move to a faster base runner that would work out as the next hitter, Stephen Piscotty, doubles to left field, Bourjos scoring the go-ahead run.

Cards' closer, Trevor Rosenthal, earns his 47th save, but had to work his way through problems of his own creation in the Reds' ninth. Things started out well for Rosenthal, who strikes out Joey Votto. But back to back singles by Phillips and Todd Frazier, respectively, with one out, made for some anxious moments. Rosenthal threw a fly out to Jay Bruce, then a ground out to Brayan Pena to close the game out.

With the win, St. Louis maintains its four-game Central Division lead over the Pittsburgh Pirates and six-game lead on the Chicago Cubs.

The Cardinals continue their three-game series with the Reds Tuesday night a Busch Stadium.

Probables: St. Louis, John Lackey; Cincinnati, Keyvius Sampson.