ST. LOUIS (AP) — Playing with a heavy heart, Aledmys Diaz hit his first career grand slam and the St. Louis Cardinals finished with five home runs Tuesday night in a 12-5 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.
St. Louis kept pace in a tight race for the two NL wild cards, with a chance to gain some ground pending San Francisco's late game against Colorado.
The New York Mets lead the wild-card standings and remained 1 1/2 games ahead of the Cardinals thanks to a 12-1 win at Miami.
Jhonny Peralta had a three-run homer and drove in four runs for the Cardinals, who had lost four of five. Matt Carpenter, Randal Grichuk and Matt Adams also homered.
Joey Votto and Scott Schebler went deep for the Reds, who beat St. Louis 15-2 on Monday.
Diaz returned to the lineup after attending a private ceremony in Florida on Monday for childhood friend Jose Fernandez, the late Miami Marlins ace who died in a boating accident early Sunday.
Before the game, Diaz said the best way to honor Fernandez, who grew up three houses away from him, was to “play hard and give 100 percent every time out there. That's the way he wanted it.”
Diaz's fourth-inning slam erased a 2-1 deficit and sparked the Cardinals, who managed just one hit over the first three innings.
Cincinnati starter Robert Stephenson (2-3) ended up allowing five runs in four innings.
Cardinals right-hander Adam Wainwright (13-9) gave up five runs and 10 hits over 5 2/3 innings.
Adams unloaded a pinch-hit homer in the sixth, extending the franchise record to 16 this season.
St. Louis has hit an NL-leading 218 homers this year.
Carpenter hit his 20th home run, giving the Cardinals five players with 20 or more.
Votto was 3 for 5 and finished a triple shy of the cycle.
Reds: SS Zack Cozart, who has not played since Sept. 10 due to a sore right knee, was placed on the disabled list and will not return this season.
Cardinals: Carpenter was back in the starting lineup after missing Monday's game with a right finger injury.
Reds RHP Anthony DeSclafani (8-5, 3.38 ERA) faces RHP Mike Leake (9-11, 4.72) in the third game of the four-game series on Wednesday. DeSclafani has 13 quality starts in 19 starts this season. Leake is 0-1 with an 8.31 ERA in three starts against his former team.