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Cardinals 8, Reds 2

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CINCINNATI (AP)

Matt Holliday is hoping to play a key role in another playoff run for the St. Louis Cardinals. He sure got plenty of help on Sunday.

Holliday had four hits and four RBIs, Adam Wainwright won his fifth consecutive start and the Cardinals beat the Cincinnati Reds 8-2 on Sunday.

Allen Craig homered and drove in three runs as St. Louis handed the Reds their second series loss in 13 sets since the All-Star break. The Cardinals have won five of six to move within six games of the NL Central-leading Reds.

''Holliday had a huge day,'' manager Mike Matheny said. ''It's amazing how the conversations outside of this clubhouse start questioning him. It's not long before he shows everybody how much he means to us.''

Holliday is batting .444 (12 for 27) with eight RBIs in his last six games. St. Louis stormed to the World Series title last year and is leading the race for the final NL wild card this season, but is still holding out hope for catching Cincinnati in the division.

''I'm just trying to do my part,'' Holliday said. ''This is a team game. We only play the Reds three more times. We are going to need some help.''

St. Louis' 17 hits are the most allowed by Cincinnati in one game this season. The Cardinals collected 42 hits while taking two of three in the weekend series.

''Those guys are all hitting .300,'' Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips said. ''I don't know who is making outs for that team.''

Wainwright (13-10) allowed two runs and six hits in 5 2-3 innings while improving to 6-0 with a 1.80 ERA in his last seven starts overall. The 6-foot-7 right-hander, who missed all of last season because of elbow surgery, hasn't lost since July 18 at Milwaukee.

''I wanted to take my team further in the game than that, but I get it,'' Wainwright said. ''I had a couple of games in a row that I threw a lot of pitches.''

Reds manager Dusty Baker said Wainwright was on his game.

''Wainwright threw the ball well,'' Baker said. ''There's not much else to say, except they beat us.''

Reds right-hander Homer Bailey (10-9) gave up five runs in six innings while falling to 1-3 with a 6.04 ERA in five August starts. He also allowed a season-high nine hits for the sixth time.

The Cardinals strung together four consecutive ground-ball singles during a five-hit third inning that plated three runs. Skip Schumaker led off with a double to right-center, and Wainwright chipped in with a one-out single into left field. Schumaker scored on Jon Jay's base hit up the middle and Matt Carpenter singled to load the bases before Holliday's two-run single to left.

''With Wainwright on the mound, we felt pretty good with those first three runs,'' Holliday said.

St. Louis added two more in the sixth to make it 5-0. Holliday hit a leadoff triple before Craig drove a 1-2 pitch over the wall in left for his 20th homer.

''The two Matts got on base. That got us started. I take pride in driving in runs,'' Craig said.

Chris Heisey and Ryan Ludwick had RBI singles in the sixth for Cincinnati, which beat the Cardinals 8-2 on Saturday.

Holliday also doubled in a run in the seventh and singled in Carpenter in the ninth.

NOTES: Reds 1B Joey Votto is scheduled to start a rehab assignment Tuesday at Single-A Dayton, perhaps the last step of his comeback from two minor surgical procedures related to a torn meniscus in his left knee. The Reds are 27-14 since Votto left the lineup. ... RHP Nick Masset was awaiting the results of an MRI on his right shoulder after soreness returned following his rehab appearance with Triple-A Louisville on Aug. 21. Masset has been on the disabled list since spring training. ... The Reds and Cardinals meet one more time this season, in the final series Oct. 1-3 in St. Louis.

Tagged: Reds, Cardinals, Matt Holliday, Adam Wainwright, Homer Bailey, Allen Craig

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