CINCINNATI (AP) — Scooter Gennett didn’t have any more homers in that tan bat. Instead, another Cincinnati utility player hit the ball a long way and decided a game.
St. Louis kept Gennett in check a day after his four-homer game , but Patrick Kivlehan had a pinch-hit three-run shot that sparked the Cincinnati Reds to a 6-4 victory Wednesday night, extending the Cardinals’ longest losing streak in four years.
The Cardinals have dropped six in a row, their deepest slump since they lost seven straight in July 2013.
They let a 4-1 lead slip away when Kivlehan — another utility player like Gennett — and Joey Votto homered during a five-run seventh inning.
“Before the inning, I was thinking that it had been a while since I’d gotten to pinch hit and I decided that if I was sent up there, I wasn’t going to take any swings in the (batting) cage,” said Kivlehan, the Reds’ leading pinch hitter. “I was just going to grab a bat and go up there.”
Kivlehan’s first career pinch-hit homer off Brett Cecil (0-2) tied it 4-4. Votto’s two-run homer off Trevor Rosenthal finished the eight-batter rally that put the Reds in position for their 13th comeback win of the season.
“Sometimes you’re amazed that it’s happening,” manager Bryan Price said. “I never get tired of it.”
Gennett became the first Reds player to homer four times in a game during the 13-1 win a night earlier. He connected in his last four at-bats and had a chance for more history on Wednesday — nobody has homered in five straight plate appearances.
Using the same tan bat that produced five hits overall the previous night, Gennett grounded into a double play his first time up against Lance Lynn, ending his homer streak. He also struck out, hit into another double play and singled as part of the Reds’ go-ahead rally.
Scott Schebler had a homer among his three hits for the Reds, who have won all three games in a series that ends on Thursday. They have won 10 of their last 15 games overall against the NL Central rival.
It’s been a long time since the Cardinals have gone through such bad times.
“You hope that when you do go through them, they’re not long,” said Lynn, who was removed after five innings for a pinch hitter. “And they’re longer than we would like it right now. We’ve got one more tomorrow. Hopefully we can win that one and get back home and kind of regroup, take a deep breath and get back after it.”
Wandy Peralta (3-1) got the win in relief of Bronson Arroyo. Raisel Iglesias pitched the ninth, staying perfect in 11 save chances.
The Cardinals built their early lead with the help of Matt Carpenter’s solo homer off Arroyo, who has given up a major league-leading 20 homers this season. Sixteen of them have been solo shots, including the last 14 he’s allowed.
HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?
The Reds got their first hit on Votto’s grounder back to Lynn, who had the ball deflect off his glove. He picked it up and threw wide of first base, allowing Votto to reach on what was ruled a single.
“Pretty much, I had two errors on the same play but somehow he got a hit out of it,” Lynn said.
Eric Fryer tried to score from first base on Dexter Fowler’s RBI double in the sixth, but Gennett’s relay to the plate nailed him. The Cardinals asked for replay to check for possible obstruction by catcher Devin Mesoraco, but the call was upheld.
The Cardinals called up utility player Chad Huffman and optioned RHP John Gant to Triple-A Memphis. Gant gave up two of Gennett’s four homers on Tuesday night.
Cardinals: Fowler, who is 3 for 16 on the trip, got a day out of the starting lineup but doubled as a pinch hitter for Lynn. Carpenter batted leadoff for the first time this season.
Reds: RHP Homer Bailey will make a rehab appearance Friday for Double-A Pensacola. He had spurs removed from his pitching elbow before the start of spring training. He’s not expected back until late June at the earliest.
Cardinals: RHP Mike Leake (5-4) has yet to beat his former team. He’s 0-3 in six career starts against the Reds with a 4.95 ERA. St. Louis has lost all six games.
Reds: RHP Scott Feldman (4-4) lasted only 4 1/3 innings in a 6-5 loss to Atlanta on Saturday, giving up five runs and seven hits.
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