CINCINNATI — No blown leads this time. The Cardinals’ bullpen made one big inning stand up.
Brandon Moss drove in a pair of runs during St. Louis’ four-run first inning, extending his season-long streak against the Reds, and the Cardinals held on for a 5-4 victory over Cincinnati on Wednesday night to even their series.
St. Louis had lost back-to-back games on walk-off hits, including a 7-5 loss to the Reds on Tuesday night that ended with a three-run homer off Seung Hwan Oh. The Cardinals’ fill-in closer was the one celebrating this time after getting his eighth save in 10 chances.
“Some games you need to remember, and also there are some games you need to forget,” Oh said, through the team’s translator. “I want to remember that (loss) and move forward.”
St. Louis sent nine batters to the plate against Cody Reed (0-6) in the first inning, with Moss and Greg Garcia each driving in a pair of runs. Stephen Piscotty added a solo homer, the Cardinals’ fifth in two games.
Moss and Jhonny Peralta returned from the disabled list at the start of the series and have contributed as the teams split the first two games. Moss is 5 for 9 with three doubles and a homer.
For the season, he’s 12 of 28 (.429) against the Reds with three doubles and five homers.
“He’s taking some great swings,” manager Mike Matheny said. “In the first inning, that was a great at-bat he put together.”
Michael Wacha (7-7) gave up a pair of runs in five innings as he won his fifth straight decision, and the bullpen took it from there.
“We’ve got some pretty good options to throw out there,” said left-hander Zach Duke, obtained in a trade with the White Sox on Sunday.
The NL Central rivals conclude the series on Thursday. The Cardinals have won 18 of their past 22 series, including eight of 11 at Great American Ball Park.
St. Louis had chances to pull out to an even bigger lead against Reed, but had a pair of runners thrown out at the plate as they tried to score from third base on grounders. Another was caught in a rundown between third and home.
“It seems like I’m giving the same interview,” said Reed, who allowed eight hits and a walk in five innings. “I’m not really performing. It’s a battle for me right now.”
Joey Votto extended his career-high hitting streak to 17 games with an RBI single in the first inning. It’s the longest streak by a Reds player since Brandon Phillips hit in 22 in a row in 2007. Votto is 29 for 58 (.500) during the streak.