CINCINNATI -- The St. Louis Cardinals passed two tests with their first extra-innning victory of the season.
With the best offense in the National League and the second best team pitching staff, the Cardinals have rarely had to play from behind. They erased a pair of two-run deficits in a 10-inning, 11-4 victory.
"We've has some of those [extra inning] games go the wrong way," Cardinal manager Mike Matheny said. "There have been quite a few times we've come back but not all the way."
J.J. Hoover (0-5) walked Allen Craig to lead off the 10th. One out later, David Freese singled Craig to second, extending his career-best hitting streak to 19 games, tied with San Francisco's Marco Scutaro for the longest in the National League this season.
Daniel Descalso followed with his RBI double off the left-field wall. Matt Carpenter added two insurance runs with a bases-loaded single before Holliday hit his homer -- a 464-foot shot into the left field seats off Curtis Partch, who was making his major league debut. The homer was Holliday's 10th of the season.
"It's hard not to be disappointed," Cincinnati manager Dusty Baker said. "We have a lead in the late innings. We have to find a way to hold them."
"These guys are never out of a ballgame," said Arroyo, who started and went six innings before leaving after his right leg stiffened up, the result of getting smacked on the knee by Descalso's sharp one-hopper to end the fourth. "Against some teams, when you lead, 4-2, in the late innings, you feel like the game's over. This team fights you -- the whole lineup. Every guy in the lineup has a hitting streak. It's not easy to navigate nine innings."
Descalso was in the game to give Pete Kozma a breather but he's managed some big hits for St. Louis.
"Descalso has been hitting the ball well," Matheny said. "It's hard to do for a guy who isn't getting regular at bats."
His clutch hit put the Cardinals on top for the first time in the game.
"We haven't had to come back much this year," Descalso said. "Most of these guys have been around when we've had to come back. I don't hit many that far, that way. I was just hoping I got enough of it."
Trevor Rosenthal (1-0) had four strikeouts in two perfect innings to get the win. The victory meant that the Cardinals have now either won or split 13 straight series.
The Reds grabbed a quick 2-0 lead in the first. Shin-Soo Choo led off with an opposite-field double into the left-field corner and moved to third on Derrick Robinson's sacrifice bunt. After Joey Votto walked, Brandon Phillips nudged a half-swing bloop single into short right field to drive in Choo and send Votto to third. Votto scored on Jay Bruce's sacrifice fly.
St. Louis tied it in the fourth. Carlos Beltran led off with his 14th home run of the season, a 409-foot blast to center field on a 3-1 pitch. Holliday followed with a double and scored one out later on Yadier Molina's opposite-field double into the right-field corner.
A two-run fifth gave the Reds a 4-2 lead. Choo led off with a single to right and Robinson was nicked by a pitch while squaring to bunt. Votto struck out and Choo moved to third on Phillips's fly ball to center field before Bruce lined a two-run double into the right-field corner.
"I felt the first guy got on every inning," said Lance Lynn, who would have tied teammate Adam Wainright for the team and league lead in wins. "It was a grind. I threw everything to Bruce. I put the fastball inside where I wanted but he got the bat on it somehow. It was a good piece of hitting."
The Cardinals jumped all over reliever Sam LeCure to tie the score again in the seventh. Jon Jay led off with a single, his third hit of the game, and went to third on pinch-hitter Matt Adams's double to center that Choo got a glove on but couldn't hold. Jay scored and pinch-runner Shane Robinson went to third on Carpenter's single. Beltran greeted reliever Alfredo Simon with a game-tying sacrifice fly.
Carpenter extended his career-high hitting streak to 18 games.
- Cardinals RHP Jake Westbrook, on the disabled list since May 9 with right elbow inflammation, started for Single-A Peoria on Sunday, perhaps the last step toward being activated. Westbrook could be ready to pitch in "4-5 days," manager Mike Matheny said.
- St. Louis RHP Chris Carpenter, who's missed the entire season with a right shoulder injury, is scheduled to pitch "lengthened" bullpen sessions and face batters when the Cardinals return from their current road trip, Matheny said.
- Reds 2B Brandon Phillips was 1 for 7 in his first two games since missing four after being hit in the left forearm with a pitch. The area remains swollen. "It's still [messed] up," Phillips said. "I can catch the ball OK, but handling the bat is tough. I'm going to play through it. It is what it is."