Molina's single lets Cards take another series from Reds 3-2
CINCINNATI (AP) A little vintage Adam Wainwright and another booed hit by Yadier Molina have the St. Louis Cardinals headed up.
Wainwright allowed only two hits in six innings, and Molina's bases-loaded single snapped a tie in the eighth on Thursday night, sending the St. Louis Cardinals to a 3-2 victory over the Cincinnati Reds 3-2 and yet another series win in their lopsided NL Central rivalry.
Molina's third hit of the game led St. Louis to its fourth victory in five games. The Cardinals (32-28) are a season-high four games over .500, tied with the Pirates for second place, 10 games behind the Cubs.
St. Louis took two of three and has won 18 of its last 22 series with Cincinnati.
Wainwright's slow start to the season was a part of the Cardinals' struggles. He's gotten his fastball back and has thrown five straight quality starts, with this one the best yet.
''It's been building toward that,'' Wainwright said. ''That's me out there. That's exactly how I pitch.''
The Cardinal who gets booed the loudest in Cincinnati was in the middle of another comeback. His one-out single off Ross Ohlendorf (4-5) put St. Louis up 3-2 and drew jeers. Molina has been booed regularly at Great American Ball Park since a brawl that started between him and Brandon Phillips in 2010.
''Yadi's been a Reds killer for years and years and years,'' Wainwright said. ''He's the guy you want up there in the big spot.''
Molina also doubled and scored a run in the second inning, getting booed that time, too.
''Lately I'm feeling better,'' said Molina, who came in batting .261.
Seung Hwan Oh (2-0) pitched one inning in relief of Wainwright, who was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the seventh with two runners aboard and the score tied. Trevor Rosenthal retired the side in the ninth for his 11th save in 12 chances.
Matt Carpenter scored twice, including the go-ahead run after opening the eighth inning with a double.
Wainwright had a rough first inning, giving up Jay Bruce's RBI groundout and Adam Duvall's run-scoring single. He didn't allow another hit before leaving in the seventh. Wainwright fanned a season-high nine.
Wainwright hasn't had much success against the Reds. Coming into the game, he was 8-10 in 24 games against Cincinnati with a 4.51 ERA, his highest against any team except the Mets.
Molina doubled off Brandon Finnegan and scored on Brandon Moss' single in the second inning. The Cardinals tied it with the help of a balk in the sixth. Carpenter walked, moved up on Finnegan's balk on a throw to first base, and then came around on Aledmys Diaz's single.
''Big call,'' Reds manager Bryan Price said of the balk. ''It didn't look different to me from the naked eye. I'm not saying it wasn't a balk, but I didn't see it.''
With Cincinnati's Tyler Holt on first base in the bottom of the eighth and one out, Ivan DeJesus, Jr. hit a fly to shallow right. Stephen Piscotty dived and appeared to catch the ball, but got to his knees and threw to second for what would have been a forceout in case the umpires ruled he trapped the ball.
Umpire Sean Barber called it a catch, but a review determined Piscotty trapped the ball and Holt was awarded second base. Manager Mike Matheny contended Holt would have been forced out and shouldn't be awarded the base.
''It's a joke,'' Matheny said. ''I can't think of any rational reason that would be true in that situation. It just didn't make sense.''
It was Wainwright's 300th appearance, matching Steve Kline for 16th on the Cardinals career list. ... Matt Adams pinch-hit in the ninth and singled, extending his hitting streak to nine games. ... Brandon Phillips' first-inning double extended his hitting streak to 12 games, the longest on the Reds this season.
Cardinals: Moss, who had two homers Wednesday night, started at 1B instead of Adams. Moss is 4 for 8 in his career off Finnegan with a homer.
Reds: CF Billy Hamilton was in the concussion protocol after being hit in the head while sliding into third base Wednesday night.
Cardinals: Michael Wacha (2-6) tries to snap the longest losing streak of his career in Pittsburgh. He's lost six straight decisions since April 28. The last Cardinals pitcher to lose seven straight decisions was Kip Wells in 2007.
Reds: RHP Anthony DeSclafani makes his first start of the season after recovering from a strained oblique suffered during spring training. He'll open a series against Oakland.
Follow Joe Kay on Twitter: http://twitter.com/apjoekay