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St. Louis (69-75)100002001461
Cincinnati (67-79) «00014000x5110

Reds complete sweep, leave champion Cards 0-7 on trip

CBSSports.com wire reports
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CINCINNATI -- The season has brought one setback after another for the St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa's drunken-driving arrest, reliever Josh Hancock's death, a series of injuries to everyday players.

The defending World Series champions may be running out of resilience.

Joey Votto hit a two-run double and David Ross followed with a two-run homer Thursday, sending the Cincinnati Reds to a 5-4 victory that completed the Cardinals' road trip to ruin.

The Cardinals lost all seven games on their trip, capped by their first three-game sweep in Cincinnati since July 1998. It's their first winless trip of at least seven games since May 1972, when they went 0-7 in Cincinnati and Pittsburgh.

It's a bad time to be making historical references.

"We're a little flat, things aren't going our way, and we're not playing good baseball," outfielder Jim Edmonds said. "All those add up to losses. It's really no different than it was at the beginning of the year. It's just a bad time for it right now."

The Cardinals had surged from 10½ games out at the end of June to within a game of first place in the NL Central before hitting the road and hitting the skids. The latest loss dropped them 4½ games out.

"It's just been I don't even know how to word it," said Kip Wells (6-17), who lost his fourth straight start. "It's just been tough. We haven't caught any breaks."

Votto doubled home a pair of runs in the fifth off Wells, and Ross followed with his first homer since July 23. The catcher had been 1-for-15 since returning from a concussion on Aug. 28.

Aaron Harang (15-4) gave up three hits and three sacrifice flies two by Albert Pujols in seven innings. David Weathers gave up Edmonds' RBI single in the ninth before becoming the ninth Cincinnati closer to reach the 30-save mark.

The sweep was particularly pleasing for the Reds, who were swept in a three-game series in St. Louis from Aug. 31-Sept. 2.

"We went into their place and they smacked us around, so it was nice to come back and take three from them, especially with the playoffs right around the corner," Harang said. "It'll make them work that much harder to get back in the race."

The Reds were still holding out hope of getting back into contention until they landed in St. Louis two weeks ago. Since then, they've been relegated to playing it out.

"We went in there kind of on a roll and they stuck it to us," Ross said. "I don't know if we knocked them out of playoff hunt, but we did a good job of hurting their chances."

It was the Cardinals' costliest trip of the season by far.

In addition to losing precious games in the standings, they lost third baseman Scott Rolen, who had shoulder surgery on Tuesday, and outfielder Chris Duncan, who aggravated a hernia and is likely out for the season.

Now, they're running out of time. They play four games against the Cubs this weekend in St. Louis, and have three left in Milwaukee the two teams they're chasing.

The Cardinals faced the Reds' top two starters during the series, and didn't do much against either. They lost to Bronson Arroyo 7-2 on Wednesday night.

David Eckstein led off Thursday's game with a double and scored on a sacrifice and Pujols' sacrifice fly. Eckstein was the only Cardinal to manage a hit off Harang in the first five innings.

The Reds wasted several chances against the enigmatic Wells, who lost seven straight games earlier this season and now has lost his last four starts. The Reds left the bases loaded in the third, when Edwin Encarnacion popped out.

They loaded the bases again in the fourth, but managed only Jeff Keppinger's sacrifice fly that tied it at 1. Votto's RBI double his third hit of the game broke the tie in the fifth, and Ross followed with his first homer in 53 at-bats.

Another sign of how things are going for St. Louis: It was only the third homer off Wells in the right-hander's last 71 innings.

Notes

  • Wells has given up 21 runs in 18 innings during his four-start losing streak.
  • Slumping OF Rick Ankiel was out of the Cardinals' lineup. He pinch-hit, stayed in the game and went 0-for-2, leaving him in a 1-for-23 rut.
  • Reds OF Josh Hamilton was out of the lineup with a strained right hamstring. SS Alex Gonzalez was out with a sore left knee.
  • Weathers is 30-for-35 in save chances. He's the first Reds reliever to get 30 saves since Danny Graves in 2002.
  • The Reds head to Milwaukee, where the Brewers will face starters Tom Shearn, Kirk Saarloos and Matte Belisle in a three-game series.
 
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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Joey Votto hits a two-run double in the fifth to help the Reds sweep the free-falling Cards.  (AP)
Joey Votto hits a two-run double in the fifth to help the Reds sweep the free-falling Cards. (AP)

Players of the Game
Cincinnati

J. Votto
AB 4
R 1
H 3
HR 0
RBI 2
St. Louis

A. Pujols
AB 2
R 1
H 1
HR 0
RBI 2
 
St. Louis Cardinals
David Eckstein, SS3121000 .299
Miguel Cairo, 3B2000101 .236
    Russ Springer, P0000000 .000
Albert Pujols, 1B2112000 .319
Jim Edmonds, CF4011011 .249
Ryan Ludwick, LF4000011 .252
Skip Schumaker, RF3010010 .306
    Yadier Molina, C1000001 .278
Kelly Stinnett, C2000010 .185
   a- Rick Ankiel, PH-RF2000012 .295
Kip Wells, P1000000 .333
    Andy Cavazos, P0000000 .000
   b- Russell Branyan, PH0100100 .191
    Brad Thompson, P0000000 .150
   c- Aaron Miles, PH-2B1000000 .301
Brendan Ryan, 2B-3B3110000 .324
Totals2846425  
a-struck out for Stinnett in the 7th
b-walked for Cavazos in the 6th
c-lined out for Thompson in the 8th
Batting
2B - David Eckstein (18, Harang), Albert Pujols (32, Weathers), Brendan Ryan (7, Harang)
SF - David Eckstein (7), Albert Pujols 2 (8)
SH - Miguel Cairo (5)
RBI - David Eckstein (29), Albert Pujols 2 (91), Jim Edmonds (45)
CS - Miguel Cairo (2, 2nd base by Harang/Ross)
Team LOB - 3
Fielding
DP - Ryan-Eckstein-Pujols, Cairo-Ryan-Pujols, Ryan-Eckstein-Pujols
E - Jim Edmonds (5, Misplayed grounder)
St. Louis Cardinals
Kip Wells (L,6-17) 4.21055621 5.77
Andy Cavazos 0.1000000 8.15
Brad Thompson 2100000 5.05
Russ Springer 1000000 2.30
IBB - Encarnacion by Kip Wells
Pitches-Strikes - Kip Wells 104-55, Andy Cavazos 4-2, Brad Thompson 13-11, Russ Springer 12-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Kip Wells 4-6, Andy Cavazos 1-0, Brad Thompson 4-1
Batters Faced - Kip Wells 28, Andy Cavazos 1, Brad Thompson 6, Russ Springer 3
Cincinnati Reds
Norris Hopper, CF5040000 .333
Jeff Keppinger, SS3001102 .335
Ken Griffey Jr., RF4010003 .283
Brandon Phillips, 2B3120111 .290
Adam Dunn, LF3000102 .265
    David Weathers, P0000000 .000
Edwin Encarnacion, 3B3100103 .286
Joey Votto, 1B4132000 .455
David Ross, C2212200 .202
Aaron Harang, P3000014 .104
    Jared Burton, P0000000 .000
   a- Buck Coats, PH-LF1000000 .000
Totals31511562  
a-lined out for Burton in the 8th
Batting
2B - Brandon Phillips (25, Wells), Joey Votto (3, Wells)
HR - David Ross (16, Wells)
SF - Jeff Keppinger (1)
RBI - Jeff Keppinger (26), Joey Votto 2 (8), David Ross 2 (36)
Team LOB - 9
Cincinnati Reds
Aaron Harang (W,15-4) 7333250 3.65
Jared Burton (H,8) 1100000 2.54
David Weathers (S,30) 1211000 3.47
Pitches-Strikes - Aaron Harang 89-61, Jared Burton 13-11, David Weathers 17-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Aaron Harang 4-11, Jared Burton 1-2
Batters Faced - Aaron Harang 25, Jared Burton 4, David Weathers 5
Game Information
Attendance - 18018
Game Time - 2:40
Temperature - 75
Umpires - Home - Joe West, First Base - Ed Rapuano, Second Base - Ed Hickox, Third Base - C.B. Bucknor