ST. LOUIS (AP) Never has a 94 mile-per-hour fastball to the ribs felt so good for Yadier Molina as it did Monday night.
Molina started and ended a five-run rally in the ninth inning as the St. Louis Cardinals stunned the Cincinnati Reds 5-4. He was hit by a pitch from Ross Ohlendorf with the bases loaded to drive home the winning run. Instead of wincing, Molina pumped his fist and slid into first base.
''He walked by me and said we have lots of ice,'' manager Mike Matheny said. ''So he wasn't concerned about being hit there.''
Molina singled to start the inning against Reds closer Tony Cingrani. Matt Carpenter drove in two runs with a single, Stephen Piscotty singled home another and Matt Holliday walked to load the bases before Cingrani (2-4) was lifted for Ohlendorf, who walked Brandon Moss to tie it before hitting Molina.
''You can have the good approach, you can do all the things you want to, you can hit the ball hard, but it takes a little luck sometimes and you've got to get the pitches to do it with,'' Moss said. ''And in the ninth inning we got a lot of pitches to do it with.''
The comeback erased what had been a night of offensive futility for St. Louis through the first eight innings, as the Cardinals entered the last inning 0 for 11 with runners in scoring position.
''You trust in each other and that was one of those next men up,'' Matheny said. ''There was nobody with that huge home run. It was just one right after the other whether it's a hit batsman, whether it's walks or whether it's a big hit. Play the game, good things can happen.''
Seth Maness (2-2) pitched a perfect ninth to earn the win.
Cardinals starter Michael Wacha struggled to settle in as seven of the first 12 batters he faced reached base. Zack Cozart's double eluded the outstretched glove of Holliday in left field and went off the wall to give the Reds a 2-0 lead in the second. Cozart, who had two hits, scored when Joey Votto followed with a triple.
''Just command early on, especially in the first and second inning I was kind of just all over the place,'' Wacha said. ''I felt like I was able to settle in and throw some good pitches down in the zone.''
The rally spoiled what had the makings of Cody Reed's first major league win. Reed's six scoreless innings dropped the Reds starters' ERA to 2.84 over the last 11 games.
''It's miserable,'' Reds manager Bryan Price said. ''It's a miserable feeling but we've just got to come back tomorrow and win the game and get this feeling out of our system.''
Billy Hamilton led off the game for the Reds with a single and stole second and third. He is 17 for 19 in stolen base attempts against Molina, a perennial gold glove catcher, and the 17 stolen bases are the most by any baserunner against Molina.
''When you have a true base stealer like that, he's going to disrupt,'' Matheny said. ''That's just how it goes. Yadi made a good throw . this guy gets some good jumps at times.''
Molina walked in the fourth inning to extend his streak of reaching base safely to 21 games. It is the longest streak by a Cardinals catcher since Gene Tenace reached in 35 straight between the 1981 and 1982 seasons.
Reds: RHP Alfredo Simon (right trapezius) and RHP A.J. Morris (strained right shoulder) began rehab assignments at Triple-A Louisville on Sunday. Simon gave up a run in an inning and Morris gave up three runs in 2/3 of an inning.
Cardinals: LHP Tyler Lyons (knee) saw a specialist in Chicago, but no update was available.
Reds: LHP Brandon Finnegan (7-8, 4.45 ERA) is coming off a two-hit, six-inning shutout of St. Louis in a 7-0 win last week. His current 12-inning scoreless streak is the longest of his career.
Cardinals: RHP Mike Leake (8-9, 4.80 ERA) will look for better results against his former team after allowing seven runs his last time out in Cincinnati. In two career starts against the Reds, he is 0-1 with a 10.32 ERA.