CINCINNATI (AP) — The Reds were the better team through the first 31 innings of their four-game series against St. Louis. The last five innings didn’t go as well, but it was still a good weekend for Cincinnati.
Tommy Pham hit a tiebreaking, two-run homer in the sixth, pinch-hitter Matt Adams added a two-run drive in a five-run eighth and St. Louis rallied to beat Cincinnati 9-2 Sunday and avoid getting swept in the series.
“You hate to lose the last game, but if you would say at the beginning you’d win three of four, we’d take it,” Reds manager Bryan Price said.
The Cardinals, on their worst stretch this season, had lost eight of 10 going into the finale, and their division lead over Pittsburgh is down to 2 1/2 games. St. Louis then fell behind 2-0 on Todd Frazier’s second-inning homer and Tucker Barnhart’s fourth-inning sacrifice fly.
Frazier hit his eighth home run since the All-Star break. He leads the NL with 40 doubles and needs seven more home runs to be the first player in franchise history to hit 40 home runs and 40 doubles in a season.
Frazier was more concerned with competing in the pennant race, even with the Reds out of it.
“We played a good Cardinal team and took three out of four,” Frazier said. “We’ll take that any day of the week. We helped a couple teams. We made the race a little closer. It’s hard to take four from any team.”
Those were the only runs the Reds would score against Michael Wacha (16-5), who allowed three hits and four walks in six innings.
Outscored 20-3 in the first three games, the Cardinals tied the score in the fifth against Raisel Iglesias on Kolten Wong’s run-scoring infield single and Matt Carpenter’s RBI single.
Sam LeCure (0-1) walked Greg Garcia, and Pham homered on a 2-2 pitch for a 4-2 lead, his second home run of the season and first since July 5.
The Reds bullpen came into the game with 14 2-3 scoreless innings over the last four games.
St. Louis C Yadier Molina threw out Billy Hamilton, the Major League steals leader, trying to steal second base in the seventh. Hamilton had been 10 for 10 in his career against the All-Star and Gold Glove winner, including two swipes in this series that included two throwing errors by Molina.
Todd Frazier’s 33rd home run on Sunday is the third-highest total for a Reds’ third baseman in franchise history. Only Hall of Famer Tony Perez has hit more — 39 in 1970 and 37 in 1967.