Cardinals extend surge, beat Reds 5-0

CINCINNATI (AP) Everything has fallen into place, allowing the St. Louis Cardinals to pull away.

Matt Carpenter broke a scoreless tie with his two-run single in the seventh inning, Matt Adams added a three-run homer, and the Cardinals extended their surge in the NL Central by beating the Cincinnati Reds 5-0 on Monday night.

St. Louis has won nine of 10, going from two games out to a season-high 4 1/2 games up in the division. The Cardinals are 10-3 against the Reds this season and 40-24 against the NL Central overall.

”Everything is clicking right now,” Adams said. ”Our starting pitching is just unbelievable right now, and our offense is doing what it’s capable of doing.”

Shelby Miller (9-9) gave up three hits while pitching into the eighth in his first victory in three starts against Cincinnati this season. Two relievers finished the three-hitter.

Miller faced the minimum 12 batters over the first four innings – Brandon Phillips singled but was taken out in a double play. Devin Mesoraco led off the fifth with a double but was stranded at second, the only Red to reach scoring position.

The Cardinals didn’t walk a batter and turned a pair of double plays. As a result, their pitchers faced only 28 batters, one over the minimum.

Miller is putting together his best stretch of the season by turning to his curveball, a pitch he used less frequently early in the season. He allowed only three hits in seven innings of a 1-0 win over the Pirates his last time out.

”It’s just building confidence in that pitch,” Miller said. ”I feel it’s the second-best pitch I have.

”The biggest thing is just using it. The more you use it, the more you get a feel for it and you can throw it where you want to.”

Carpenter’s single off Manny Parra (0-3) left Cincinnati’s bullpen 0-14 since the All-Star break, part of Cincinnati’s 16-33 slide over that time. The Reds have dropped eight of their last 10 and fallen 10 games under .500 for the first time since 2009.

The Reds had two pitchers leave the game because of injury.

Reds starter Dylan Axelrod threw only seven pitches before pulling his right oblique. Left-hander David Holmberg relieved and went a career-high 5 2-3 innings, allowing four hits while throwing 81 pitches.

Right-hander Pedro Villarreal took a grounder off his forearm in the ninth and left the game. Ondrusek replaced him and gave up Adams’ three-run homer on his second pitch.

”That was a beautiful swing by Matt Adams,” manager Mike Matheny said. ”That was one of the loudest ones I’ve ever heard.”

The Reds went through seven pitchers overall, including four in the decisive seventh. Parra gave up Randal Grichuk’s pinch-hit double and Kolten Wong’s infield single. After Miller’s sacrifice, Carpenter singled to right for a 2-0 lead.

SLUMP BUSTER

Slumping Cardinals OF Matt Holliday got Sunday off. He was back in the lineup on Monday and singled to end the slide at 0 for 10. He later added another single.

STATS

Carpenter has driven in a pair of runs in each of the last two games. He has three straight multihit games. … Wong extended his hitting streak to five games. … The Reds are 10 games below .500 for the first time since Sept. 23, 2009. They’re a season-high 13 games out of first place. … Holmberg’s outing was the longest by a Reds reliever since Carlos Fisher threw 5 2-3 innings during a 19-inning game on May 25, 2011, at Philadelphia.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Cardinals: INF Greg Garcia, OF Tommy Pham and RHP Sam Tuivailala were promoted from Triple-A Memphis. C Audry Perez and OF Rafael Ortega were designated for assignment to create room on the 40-man roster.

Reds: SS Zack Cozart was in the lineup for the third straight game after missing time because of a sore right wrist. He is in an 0-for-16 slump.

UP NEXT:

Cardinals: Michael Wacha (5-5) makes his third start of the season against Cincinnati. The Cardinals are 5-2 at Great American Ball Park this season and have won six straight against Cincinnati overall.

Reds: Mike Leake (10-11) is coming off his worst start of the season. He gave up a season-high seven runs and three homers in only four innings of a 9-7 loss at Baltimore on Thursday.

Follow Joe Kay on Twitter: http://twitter.com/apjoekay