For the second straight night, the St. Louis Cardinals did not need much to defeat the Cincinnati Reds. On Tuesday night, all they needed was the help of a young hitter and the strong pitching from a veteran starter, as the Cardinals defeated the Reds 3-1.
With the victory, St. Louis is only five wins away from reaching 100 total for the third time in 15 years (2004, 2005).
The magic number stands at eight wins for them to win the National League Central.
Starting for the Cardinals was 36-year old John Lackey (12-9, 2.79), while Keyvius Sampson (2-5, 7.09) got the start for the Reds. Right away, much like the night before, Cincinnati scored first, thanks in part to a solo home run by Jay Bruce. It was his 25th home run of the season.
Lackey was able to get big time help from the fielders behind him, turning multiple double plays to aid the veteran getting out of jams, especially early on in the game. Sampson kept the Cardinals in check until the bottom of the third inning, when St. Louis was finally able to get on the board for the first time in the evening. It began with a ground rule double by Matt Carpenter. Later, Tommy Pham doubled to score Carpenter to make it a 1-1 game.
By the time Lackey’s night was done, as the veteran’s final line was: 7.0 IP, 9 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 7 Ks. He set a single season high with his 25th quality start.
Meanwhile, in the bottom of the seventh, with Tony Cruz on first and Carpenter at the plate, the Cardinals pull off a successful hit-and-run, putting runners on the corners for Pham once again. And Pham delivered, hitting a sacrifice fly to score Cruz and make it 2-1 Cardinals.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, a sacrifice fly by Kolten Wong scored Jhonny Peralta to give the Cardinals a 3-1 lead.
And that turned out to be all they needed.
Steve Cishek earned his fourth save of the year, while Lackey improved to 13-9, as the Cardinals won their 95th game of the season, the 21st time in franchise history that has happened. They’ll look to sweep the Reds tomorrow, as Lance Lynn gets the start on the mound.
(Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)