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St. Louis at Cincinnati

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St. Louis (62-49) «0007000007120
Cincinnati (64-49)000000201370

Cardinals top Reds thanks to most prolific inning of season

CBSSports.com wire reports
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CINCINNATI -- Skip Schumaker watched the ball fly as he headed for first base, unsure whether it had enough to create a little personal history.

Just enough.

Schumaker hit his first career grand slam during the St. Louis Cardinals' biggest inning of the season Monday night, providing Chris Carpenter with more than enough runs on that one swing to beat the Cincinnati Reds for the ninth time in a row.

The 7-3 win got the Cardinals off to an impressive start in their showdown for first place. St. Louis moved within one game of the Reds, who have been atop the division for the past week.

"It's a good start," Schumaker said.

St. Louis sent 12 batters to the plate for seven runs in the fourth, giving rookie Mike Leake (7-4) one of his worst moments in the majors. Schumaker's grand slam -- only his 19th career homer -- made it 6-0. The ball cleared the wall in center and landed next to the Reds' bullpen.

"That's the first time it's happened in my career," Schumaker said. "Everyone gets lucky once in a while. I probably hit it in the right park."

Balls tend to fly out of Great American Ball Park -- though not when Carpenter is on the mound, of course. Carpenter (13-3) has won his last nine starts against the Reds, a streak that started in 2006. He gave up five hits and a pair of runs in seven innings.

"I do the same things I do against anybody else," Carpenter said, trying to explain the streak. "I watch video every single time and see what has changed and what hasn't changed and put something together."

Ramon Hernandez had three of Cincinnati's seven hits, including an RBI double off Carpenter and a solo homer off Kyle McClellan.

The crowd of 36,353 was revved for one of the most meaningful series in Great American Ball Park's eight-year history. The Reds haven't been in first place so late in a season since 1999, when they were playing at Cinergy Field.

The Cardinals left the fans silently sweating in their seats.

The teams have been locked in a back-and-forth race since mid-May, never separated by more than three games since then. St. Louis leads the season series 8-5. They meet only one more time, for a three-game series in St. Louis from Sept. 3-5.

St. Louis has its top three pitchers set to start against the Reds during their showdown series -- Carpenter, Jaime Garcia and Adam Wainwright. The Reds opened with a rookie.

For one of the few times, Leake looked like one.

St. Louis started the fourth with six consecutive hits. The clincher came from Schumaker, who hadn't played since Wednesday because of a sore left wrist. His grand slam landed next to the Reds' bullpen in center and got Leake uncharacteristically flummoxed.

Leake lost track of outs. He fanned Brendan Ryan for the second out in the fourth, then started jogging off the field. He realized his mistake just before reaching the foul line, turned around and gave up a single by Felipe Lopez. Manager Dusty Baker decided that was enough.

"That was a quick six," Baker said. "They got six in a span of 12 pitches. It happened so quickly that I didn't have time to get anybody warmed up."

In his last two starts, Leake has given up 14 runs (six earned) and 15 hits in 8 2/3 innings. He sat in the dugout with sweaty hair stuck to the side of his forehand and a faraway expression in his eyes.

"The big inning has been that way for the last few outings," Leake said. "I have to find a way to not do that. When the same thing keeps happening, it's not fun. I just have to stay focused. I feel great. I'm not tired at all. I'm just hitting a rough patch."

Carpenter had his way with the big lead, extending his streak of dominating an offense that leads the NL in batting, runs and hits. The right-hander beat the Reds four times last season, and now has beaten them four times already this season.

The Reds brought in another ex-Cardinal before the game, adding outfielder Jim Edmonds through a trade with Milwaukee. Edmonds played for Reds general manager Walt Jocketty in St. Louis. Edmonds started in center and went 0 for 4 with a strikeout.

Notes
  • Carpenter is 4-0 in six starts since the All-Star break with a 1.79 ERA.
  • Albert Pujols extended his hitting streak to nine games. He also walked for the first time in 12 games.
  • Reds RHP Aaron Harang plans to throw a simulate game on Tuesday, then start a rehab assignment in the minors. Harang has been in the disabled list since July 6 with lower back spasms.
  • The Reds optioned LHP Travis Wood to Triple-A to create a spot for Edmonds. Wood was going to miss his turn in the rotation because of two days off in the next week.
 
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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Skip Schumaker (right) hits his first grand slam -- only his 19th career homer -- to propel St. Louis. (AP)
Skip Schumaker (right) hits his first grand slam -- only his 19th career homer -- to propel St. Louis. (AP)

Players of the Game
Cincinnati

R. Hernandez
AB 4
R 2
H 3
HR 1
RBI 2
St. Louis

S. Schumaker
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 4
 
St. Louis Cardinals
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Felipe Lopez, 3B5110010 .258
Jon Jay, RF4120100 .375
Albert Pujols, 1B4121101 .313
Matt Holliday, LF4121013 .300
Colby Rasmus, CF4111022 .273
Yadier Molina, C4120021 .252
Skip Schumaker, 2B4124011 .260
Chris Carpenter, P3000011 .120
   a- Allen Craig, PH1000010 .200
    Trever Miller, P0000000 .000
    Kyle McClellan, P0000000 .500
Brendan Ryan, SS4000010 .220
Totals377127210  
a-struck out for Carpenter in the 8th
Batting
2B - Jon Jay (14, Leake)
HR - Skip Schumaker (4, Leake)
RBI - Albert Pujols (83), Matt Holliday (68), Colby Rasmus (49), Skip Schumaker 4 (31)
2-OUT RBI - Albert Pujols (34)
SB - Felipe Lopez (7, 3rd base off Fisher/Hernandez)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
DP - Pujols-Ryan
St. Louis Cardinals
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Chris Carpenter (W,13-3) 7522350 2.89
Trever Miller 1000100 4.23
Kyle McClellan 1211011 2.01
Pitches-Strikes - Chris Carpenter 98-64, Trever Miller 13-8, Kyle McClellan 17-13
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Chris Carpenter 9-6, Kyle McClellan 1-1
Batters Faced - Chris Carpenter 28, Trever Miller 4, Kyle McClellan 5
Cincinnati Reds
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Brandon Phillips, 2B5000012 .284
Laynce Nix, LF3010020 .274
   a- Chris Heisey, PH-LF1000000 .292
Joey Votto, 1B3010101 .320
Scott Rolen, 3B3000103 .298
Jim Edmonds, CF4000011 .281
Jay Bruce, RF1100200 .258
   b- Miguel Cairo, PH1000000 .298
Ramon Hernandez, C4232001 .298
Paul Janish, SS4000003 .287
Mike Leake, P1000010 .349
    Carlos Fisher, P1000011 .000
   c- Juan Francisco, PH1011000 .350
    Bill Bray, P0000000 .000
    Logan Ondrusek, P0000000 .000
   d- Jonny Gomes, PH1010000 .274
Totals3337346  
a-popped out for Nix in the 8th
b-flied out for Bruce in the 9th
c-singled for Fisher in the 7th
d-singled for Ondrusek in the 9th
Batting
2B - Joey Votto (22, Carpenter), Ramon Hernandez (13, Carpenter)
HR - Ramon Hernandez (5, McClellan)
RBI - Ramon Hernandez 2 (34), Juan Francisco (5)
2-OUT RBI - Juan Francisco (1)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
DP - B. Phillips-Janish-Votto, Rolen-B. Phillips-Votto
PB - Ramon Hernandez (2)
Cincinnati Reds
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Mike Leake (L,7-4) 3.2976021 3.75
Carlos Fisher 3.1200250 5.68
Bill Bray 1000020 4.73
Logan Ondrusek 1100010 3.06
Pitches-Strikes - Mike Leake 52-31, Carlos Fisher 60-33, Bill Bray 13-7, Logan Ondrusek 15-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Mike Leake 5-3, Carlos Fisher 3-2, Logan Ondrusek 1-0
Batters Faced - Mike Leake 19, Carlos Fisher 14, Bill Bray 3, Logan Ondrusek 3
Game Information
Attendance - 36353
Game Time - 2:38
Temperature - 90
Umpires - Home - Larry Vanover, First Base - Mark Wegner, Second Base - Mark Carlson, Third Base - Jeff Kellogg