April 26 – Cardinals 7, Reds 5

The St. Louis Cardinals took their second consecutive series in defeating the Cincinnati Reds at Busch Stadium on Thursday afternoon. Scott Spiezio was among the many standout performers.

The St. Louis Cardinals overcame a four run deficit to earn their tenth victory of the season in a 7-5 win over the Cincinnati Reds Thursday afternoon at Busch Stadium. The Cardinals (10-11) took the series by winning two of the three games against the Reds (10-12). It certainly was not flashy, but a few clutch hits provided the Cardinals all they needed to get the victory. Russ Springer earned the win in relief and Jason Isringhausen came in for the save, his sixth of the season.

The Cardinals brought in Randy Keisler for his third start with the big league club (in place of the injured Chris Carpenter), but he only managed to pitch 3.1 innings, giving up four runs and two home runs while increasing his ERA to 5.65. Reds' starter Kyle Lohse struggled as well, but went a full six innings, giving up 11 hits and five earned runs while striking out three.

The Reds' first run came in the top of the first inning. Shortstop Alex Gonzalez tripled with one out and second baseman Brandon Phillips doubled in the run. The Reds put up more runs in the second inning when catcher David Ross hit a solo home run. The bleeding did not stop there, though, as Phillips would earn his second and third RBIs of the day on a two-run home run in the third inning.

Already down 4-0, the Cardinals had to put up some runs, and thanks to left fielder Skip Schumaker, the deficit was reduced to three. Schumaker took advantage of shortstop Aaron Miles' single by doubling in the Cardinals' first run. Neither team would do much more offensively until the bottom of the fifth inning, when the Cardinals tied up the game.

Leading off, second baseman Adam Kennedy doubled, and catcher Gary Bennett singled next to put two runners on base. So Taguchi pinch hit for the pitchers' spot and came through with a clutch RBI single. Miles did more damage with another single to load the bases, and Schumaker hit an RBI single for the Cardinals' fifth-consecutive hit. Down 3-2, first baseman Albert Pujols stepped up to the plate with a chance to break the game wide open. Pujols would ground into a double play, but Taguchi scored on the play to tie the game.

In the sixth frame, right fielder Scott Spiezio stroked a leadoff double and Kennedy doubled in the next at-bat to put St. Louis up 4-3. Spiezio would earn an RBI in the seventh inning when his single brought home Pujols, who had reached on a fielder's choice.

The Reds put up another run on a wild pitch in the top of the eighth. Reliever Ryan Franklin was on the mound, and despite giving up the run, he would later earn the win.

St. Louis scored its seventh and final run in the bottom of the eighth after Chris Duncan had a pinch-hit double and advanced to third for Miles to bring him home on a sacrifice fly.

A rain delay came about in the ninth inning, but eventually Isringhausen got all three batters he faced out to end the game.

St. Louis starts a three-game series against the Cubs in Busch Stadium on Friday. The Cardinals moved up to third place in the National League Central with Thursday's victory.

Game Notes:

- A lot of Cardinals got a rest Thursday. Randy Keisler was on the mound, and the following position players earned a day off:
David Eckstein (replaced by Aaron Miles, who went 2-for-4 with one run and one RBI)
Chris Duncan (replaced by Skip Schumaker, who went 3-for-5 with two RBI)
Preston Wilson (replaced by Scott Spiezio, who went 2-for-4 with one run and one RBI)
Yadier Molina (replaced by Gary Bennett, who went 1-for-4 with one run)

Of course, several regulars played, and Albert Pujols had himself a good game, going 2-for-4 with a double and one run scored. Adam Kennedy also had a good day, going 2-for-4 with one run and one RBI. In fact, the whole team played well offensively on Thursday. Chris Duncan raised his average to .343 on the season with a pinch-hit double.

- Randy Keisler certainly was not impressive against the Reds, but the bullpen did a great job. Brad Thompson pitched 1.2 innings, allowing no hits and no runs. Russ Springer went one inning, allowing no hits or runs and earned the win. Ryan Franklin pitched two innings and allowed one run on a wild pitch. Jason Isringhausen pitched one inning and got the save.

- The Cardinals have a big weekend series coming up against the Cubs and need to continue winning games...each game counts, even early in the season.

Brady Holzhauer can be reached via email at sportswriter5@gmail.com.

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