CINCINNATI (AP) — Eugenio Suarez had never ended a game with a hit. When his grounder made it through the infield, he raised both arms in celebration.
Suarez singled up the middle with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth inning Friday night, rallying the Cincinnati Reds to a 3-2 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals.
The Cardinals were hoping to start a final-month surge toward the playoffs — they’re in position to get the NL’s second wild-card berth behind San Francisco. Instead, the Reds snapped a four-game losing streak.
Seung Hwan Oh (4-3) walked Zack Cozart on four pitches to open the ninth, and Brandon Phillips followed with a single. After Scott Schebler singled one out later to load the bases, Suarez got his first career game-ending hit.
“I knew this opportunity would come,” Suarez said. “I tried to make it game over. I was just trying to hit a ball up the middle. I got the opportunity and didn’t try to do too much. I hit it good.”
The Reds had loaded the bases in the seventh and eighth and failed to score. Raisel Iglesias (1-1) gave up a walk in the ninth.
“We kept getting in trouble,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. “When you’re going to load the bases in the seventh, eighth and ninth of a tie game, it’s hard to get out of that.”
Yadier Molina and Randal Grichuk connected for an early lead off Anthony DeSclafani, who has been tough against St. Louis during his career. The right-hander is 3-1 in six starts against the Cardinals with a 2.25 ERA.
“I don’t think I threw the ball that good,” DeSclafani said. “I got away with a lot early. A lot of balls were hit at guys. It could’ve gotten ugly early.”
Molina led the Cardinals with a .347 batting average in August and had 32 hits, his most in any month since May 2015. He connected in the second inning for his sixth homer.
Grichuk led off the fifth inning with his 20th homer, extending his big week. He had a game-tying homer and a game-winning single earlier in the week.
The Reds tied it in the sixth against Alex Reyes, who made his second major league start. Cozart singled, ending his 0-for-17 skid. Phillips followed with a double that ricocheted off third base. Adam Duvall’s sacrifice fly and Schebler’s single made it 2-2.
The Reds wore their special camouflage jerseys as part of a night honoring the military.
Matt Adams was activated off the disabled list. He’d been sidelined since Aug. 10 with inflammation in his right shoulder, missing 19 games. Adams pinch hit and grounded out in the seventh.
Billy Hamilton stole three bases — the first two off Reyes’ move to the plate — leaving him 23 for 25 career in steal attempts against Molina. It’s the most steals by any runner against the eight-time Gold Glove catcher. Hamilton leads the majors with 57 steals.
Cardinals: RH Mike Leake is expected to rejoin the team in Cincinnati and throw a bullpen session on Sunday. He’s been on the disabled list since Aug. 22 with the shingles.
Reds: Joey Votto was out of the lineup with a stiff neck. Ivan De Jesus Jr. started at first base.
Cardinals: LH Jaime Garcia (10-10) has allowed at least five runs in three straight starts for the first time in his career.
Reds: RH Dan Straily (10-7) had a career-high six-game winning streak snapped Monday in a 9-2 loss at the Angels. He tied his career high by allowing seven runs and four homers.
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