The Cardinals went back to 12 pitchers after having 11 for a week, and the 12th pitcher, Brian Falkenborg, suffered his first big-league loss Tuesday.
Falkenborg, who came up from Triple-A Memphis on Tuesday morning, made three mistakes in a tie game in the ninth inning. First, he hit Brandon Phillips with a pitch when Phillips was trying to sacrifice.
Then Falkenborg did not heed catcher Yadier Molina's cry to throw to third after Falkenborg had fielded Jason LaRue's sacrifice bunt. Falkenborg easily would have retired Austin Kearns at third, but he threw to first instead.
With first base open and after falling behind pinch hitter Javier Valentin 2-0 with two bouncing split-fingered pitches, Falkenborg threw a pitch in the hitting zone, and Valentin ripped a single to give Cincinnati a 3-2 win.
The Cardinals ran out a lineup that did not have Albert Pujols, Scott Rolen and Jim Edmonds for the first time in three years. Rolen, who has been sick, wasn't with the club. Edmonds came in as a pinch hitter. Pujols, who missed his first start, was scratched just before game time with a sore lower back.
REPLAY: Sidney Ponson sailed through five innings, holding Cincinnati to no runs and three hits, but that appears to be about his limit. Ponson served up back-to-back home runs to Adam Dunn and Edwin Encarnacion in the sixth, and the Reds pulled out a 3-2 victory.
Again, the Cardinals did little offensively against the Reds. After scoring one run on Monday, St. Louis got just two on Tuesday, one on Juan Encarnacion's third homer in three days.
--C Yadier Molina ended his slump at 0-for-16 on a single in the seventh inning Tuesday. He also threw out a runner trying to steal second and picked off a runner at first.
--OF Skip Schumaker, who saw little playing time, was sent to Triple-A Memphis to make room for RHP Brian Falkenborg, who was recalled from Memphis.
--LF John Gall got his first start since being recalled. He had a first-inning single but struck out in the fifth, seventh and ninth, with the last two strikeouts coming with two runners on base.
--CF Jim Edmonds made his first appearance of the season at first base, staying in Tuesday's game after pinch-hitting in the seventh inning.
--LF John Rodriguez singled in the ninth inning Tuesday, extending his hitting streak to four games at 7-for-11.