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St. Louis at Cincinnati

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Ross' two-run blast caps Reds' power-driven win over Cardinals

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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CINCINNATI -- David Ross hit the pitch so squarely that he didn't even feel it leave the bat.

The next few seconds felt surreal, too.

Ross' ninth-inning drive off St. Louis Cardinals closer Jason Isringhausen landed on the roof of the batter's eye in center field, a two-run homer that carried the Cincinnati Reds to an 8-7 victory Wednesday night that tightened the NL Central race.

It left knots in some stomachs, too.

"This team has a flair for the dramatic," Ross said.

Down to their last two outs, the Reds pulled it out for a 2-1 lead in the series, which concludes Thursday afternoon. Second-place Cincinnati moved to 2½ games behind the Cardinals, whose top starter and closer got rocked by homers.

Chris Carpenter gave up three solo shots in seven innings, the first time in more than two years that he allowed three in a game. St. Louis almost overcame it.

Jim Edmonds hit a grand slam, and David Eckstein's tiebreaking single in the eighth put the Cardinals up 7-6 and put Carpenter in line for the win.

Isringhausen (3-5), who entered with one out in the eighth, came out on the bad end of the last-swing drama -- Cincinnati's fifth game-ending homer this season.

He walked Rich Aurilia with one out in the ninth, only the second walk by St. Louis pitchers in the game. Ross, who stayed in the game after pinch-hitting in the seventh, then hit a high fastball onto the roof of the batter's eye, a 442-foot shot that made the capacity crowd delirious.

Ross slapped hands with first base coach Billy Hatcher before rounding the bases, then flung his batting helmet over the crowd of wide-mouthed teammates at the plate before stepping on it.

"You round third and you see those guys waiting there to beat on you," Ross said. "That's why I threw the helmet off. They can bang on that thing and snap your neck. I don't know if I'll sleep tonight."

Ryan Franklin (2-5), acquired in a trade on Monday, pitched a perfect ninth for the win.

Things have gone that way all season for the NL Central's top two teams. The defending champion Cardinals have a pair of eight-game losing streaks, preventing them from putting Cincinnati away.

"The last couple of years, we won 100 and ran away with the division," said Isringhausen, who is 29-of-37 in save chances. "This year, we're not playing as well. Hopefully we'll grind it out, come out on top, and that will make us better at playoff time."

The Reds have been up-and-down all season as well, but managed to stay in contention by taking care of the Cardinals head-to-head. Cincinnati is up 8-3 in the season series, which concludes next week with three games in St. Louis.

"I know it's going to be a lot of fun, no matter what," Reds manager Jerry Narron said. "It's a big game any time you're playing a first-place team."

In a high-stakes game of home run derby, the Reds got the most meaningful ones. Eleven runs scored on homers -- two by the Cardinals, four by Cincinnati.

Carpenter gave up solo shots to Adam Dunn, Scott Hatteberg and Edwin Encarnacion, his first three-homer game since July 30, 2004. Carpenter also gave up a two-run double by Brandon Phillips that tied it at 6 in the sixth inning.

Half of Cincinnati's eight hits cleared the wall.

"There was a lot of damage in those eight hits," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said.

The Reds drew their second consecutive capacity crowd -- their sixth overall this season -- for the matchup of contenders and a Davey Concepcion bobblehead giveaway. The club handed out 5,000 vouchers because it received fewer than the 40,000 bobbleheads that it ordered.

The first two games of the series were blowouts -- 13-1 by St. Louis, 10-3 by the Reds. In this one, a pair of No. 1 starters had trouble keeping their pitches down.

Edmonds hit his sixth career slam in the first inning off Aaron Harang, who didn't allow a homer in his two previous starts against the Cardinals this season. It was Edmonds' first grand slam since April 21, 2004, at Houston.

Scott Spiezio, who got into the game when third baseman Scott Rolen left with back spasms, hit a two-run homer that made it 6-3.

Notes

  • Cardinals LHP Mark Mulder, on the DL since June 21 with a sore shoulder, is scheduled to make his second rehab start on Friday for Triple-A Memphis. He threw five innings for Class-A Quad Cities on Sunday.
  • Rolen is day-to-day. He struck out and popped out in his two at-bats before leaving the game.
  • RHP Braden Looper is expected to miss at least a couple of games with a sore back. He had to come out of Tuesday night's game after throwing a pitch.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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David Ross watches his 14th homer of the season sail over the fence and give the Reds the win.  (AP)
David Ross watches his 14th homer of the season sail over the fence and give the Reds the win. (AP)

Players of the Game
Cincinnati

D. Ross
AB 2
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 2
Cincinnati

E. Encarnacion
AB 3
R 2
H 2
HR 1
RBI 1
 
St. Louis Cardinals
David Eckstein, SS5131001 .292
Chris Duncan, LF4120111 .303
    Randy Flores, P0000000 .000
    Jason Isringhausen, P0000000 .000
Albert Pujols, 1B4210115 .323
Scott Rolen, 3B2000014 .319
    Scott Spiezio, 3B2112100 .273
Jim Edmonds, CF4114113 .259
Juan Encarnacion, RF5010022 .285
Ronnie Belliard, 2B5010003 .284
Yadier Molina, C5110011 .217
Chris Carpenter, P2010010 .091
   a- So Taguchi, PH-LF0000000 .280
Totals3871274820 
a-hit a sacrifice bunt for Carpenter in the 8th
Batting
2B - Albert Pujols (22, Harang), Yadier Molina (22, Bray)
HR - Scott Spiezio (7, Harang), Jim Edmonds (17, Harang)
SH - Chris Carpenter (8), So Taguchi (8)
RBI - David Eckstein (21), Scott Spiezio 2 (33), Jim Edmonds 4 (63)
Team LOB - 10
St. Louis Cardinals
Chris Carpenter 7666063 3.27
Randy Flores (H,15) 0.1000100 5.23
Jason Isringhausen (BS,8; L,3-5) 1222111 3.08
HBP - Encarnacion (by Chris Carpenter)
Pitches-Strikes - Chris Carpenter 91-61, Randy Flores 12-5, Jason Isringhausen 21-14
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Chris Carpenter 12-3, Jason Isringhausen 1-1
Batters Faced - Chris Carpenter 28, Randy Flores 2, Jason Isringhausen 6
Cincinnati Reds
Ryan Freel, RF4000020 .297
Scott Hatteberg, 1B3221110 .326
Ken Griffey Jr., CF4110011 .245
Edwin Encarnacion, 3B3221000 .296
Adam Dunn, LF3112012 .256
Brandon Phillips, 2B4012002 .292
    Ryan Franklin, P0000000 .000
Royce Clayton, SS3000001 .263
   a- Javier Valentin, PH1000010 .225
Jason LaRue, C3000010 .184
    Bill Bray, P0000000 .000
    Todd Coffey, P0000000 .000
    Kent Mercker, P0000000 .000
    Rich Aurilia, 2B0000100 .279
    Chris Denorfia, PR0100000 .222
Aaron Harang, P2000000 .160
    Rheal Cormier, P0000000 .000
    David Weathers, P0000000 .000
   b- David Ross, PH-C2112000 .295
Totals32888276 
a-struck out for Clayton in the 9th
b-flied out for Weathers in the 7th
Batting
2B - Brandon Phillips (20, Carpenter)
HR - Scott Hatteberg (11, Carpenter), Edwin Encarnacion (8, Carpenter), Adam Dunn (34, Carpenter), David Ross (14, Isringhausen)
SF - Adam Dunn (3)
RBI - Scott Hatteberg (37), Edwin Encarnacion (49), Adam Dunn 2 (80), Brandon Phillips 2 (55), David Ross 2 (35)
2-OUT RBI - Brandon Phillips 2 (17)
Team LOB - 3
Fielding
E - Royce Clayton (15, )
Cincinnati Reds
Aaron Harang 6865372 3.68
Rheal Cormier 0.2100010 1.93
David Weathers 0.1000000 4.64
Bill Bray 0.1311000 3.63
Todd Coffey 0.1000100 3.38
Kent Mercker 0.1000000 4.28
Ryan Franklin (W,2-5) 1000000 4.63
IBB - Edmonds by Aaron Harang
Pitches-Strikes - Aaron Harang 117-73, Rheal Cormier 12-8, David Weathers 4-2, Bill Bray 13-9, Todd Coffey 8-3, Kent Mercker 4-3, Ryan Franklin 11-7
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Aaron Harang 6-6, Rheal Cormier 1-0, Bill Bray 1-0, Ryan Franklin 1-2
Batters Faced - Aaron Harang 30, Rheal Cormier 3, David Weathers 1, Bill Bray 4, Todd Coffey 2, Kent Mercker 1, Ryan Franklin 3
Game Information
Attendance - 41649
Game Time - 2:56
Temperature - 81
Umpires - Home - Mike Everitt, First Base - Alfonso Marquez, Second Base - Larry Young, Third Base - Tom Hallion