As we hit the home stretch of the regular season, the National League Central is going to be a three-team war zone between the St. Louis Cardinals, the Cincinnati Reds, and the Pittsburgh Pirates. That was evident on Wednesday night, when it took the Cardinals 16 innings to knock off the Reds, 5-4.
Matt Adams would be the hero of the night, blasting his 11th home run of the year in the top of the 16th inning. It wasn't the only damage he did on the night, has he hit a go-ahead homer in the 14th, to put the Cardinals up 4-3. Many thought that was the final blow, until Zack Cosart tied the game in the bottom half for the Reds.
The opening two innings of Wednesday's encounter were relatively quiet. It wasn't until Shin-Shoo Choo broke the ice in the third, with an RBI ground out to score the game's first run. One batter later, a wild pitch by Cardinals starter Shelby Miller would send another run across to give Cincinnati a 2-0 lead.
St. Louis would erase that lead in the fourth, by the efforts of Matt Holliday and Allen Craig. Holliday lifted a sacrifice fly to center to put the Cardinals on the board, then Craig reached on a throwing error to plate the tying run. Cincinnati would get a solo home run from Brandon Phillips in the fifth, but the Cardinals responded in the sixth with an RBI single from Carlos Beltran.
Bronson Arroyo had the better night on the mound, going seven innings and giving up three runs (two earned) on seven hits. Shelby Miller lasted 5 and 2/3 innings, giving up three runs on six hits and a home run. Both starters were long gone before a decision was reached. Edward Mujica was credited with a blown save, giving up the Cosart single in the 14th. Logan Ondrusek picks up the loss, in a game that lasted nearly five hours.
Both teams are at it again Thurrsday night, as the Cardinals will send Lance Lynn (13-9, 4.29 ERA) to the mound to oppose Tony Cingrani (6-3, 2.76 ERA). Both guys had a rough August, and will be looking to turn things around to open September. The Cardinals will enter the game holding a 2½ game lead in the NL Central.