Fowler fuels Cardinals’ grind-out win over Reds
CINCINNATI — Dexter Fowler is doing everything he can to get the St. Louis Cardinals into the playoffs
Fowler hit a tying homer in the eighth inning and a go-ahead double in the 10th, helping the Cardinals knock off the Cincinnati Reds 8-7 on Tuesday night.
Yadier Molina and Paul DeJong also connected for St. Louis, which was swept by NL Central-leading Chicago over the weekend and had dropped four of five overall. Juan Nicasio (4-5) pitched 1 1/3 innings for the win and Tyler Lyons got two outs for his third save.
The third-place Cardinals (78-72) remained six games back of the Cubs in the division. St. Louis also is in the mix for a wild card after missing the playoffs last season.
“It just shows to me what kind of team this club is,” manager Mike Matheny said. “We talk about sticking your head in there — keep fighting, keep swinging.”
Fowler led off the eighth with a drive to center off Kevin Shackelford for his 17th homer, matching his career high in his first year with St. Louis despite missing a chunk of the season due to injuries. He also went deep Sunday against the Cubs and came up just short in a bid for another homer.
“Each year, I’m getting progressively better in terms of power,” said the 31-year-old Fowler, who finished with three hits. “I’m getting older and growing into my body.”
The Cardinals’ winning rally began when Tim Adelman (5-11) hit Kolten Wong with a pitch leading off the 10th. Tommy Pham flied out to right field, but Fowler lined a double into the right-field corner. DeJong added a two-out RBI single.
Cincinnati got one back on Scooter Gennett’s 26th homer. But Adam Duvall flied out to center before Lyons retired Scott Schebler and Patrick Kivlehan to end the game.
Cardinals rookie Jack Flaherty lasted just two innings in his fourth major league start. Joey Votto hit an RBI single in the first, Kivlehan added a sacrifice fly in the second and Zack Cozart hit a two-run shot off John Gant in the third, helping the Reds to a 4-0 lead.
It was Cozart’s fourth homer in his last seven games and No. 23 on the season.
The Cardinals bounced back with a five-run fourth. Molina hit a three-run homer and DeJong followed with his 23rd of the season.
Reds rookie Jackson Stephens was charged with five runs and five hits in 3 2/3 innings.
“Typically, it came down to execution,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “He got the first 10 guys out. He fell behind 2-0 on (Tommy) Pham. He got a hit and the next two guys got hits, then the home runs. Probably not the best location. He did a really nice job of pitching in, establishing inside and using his breaking ball and changeup. It seems the second time around he wasn’t making the same quality pitches.”
The teams combined to use 16 pitchers, eight for each team.
“Our bullpen was leaned on heavily today and they responded,” Matheny said.
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The Cardinals activated right-hander Adam Wainwright from the 10-day disabled list. The 36-year-old Wainwright had been sidelined by a right elbow impingement.
Matheny said he will pitch of the bullpen.
DeJong’s 23 home runs are the second-most by a rookie in Cardinals history behind Albert Pujols’ 37 in 2001. DeJong had been tied for the second-most with Chris Duncan’s 22 in 2006.
Reds infielder Eugenio Suarez missed the game to be with his wife, who was in labor with the couple’s first child.
Cardinals: 3B Jedd Gyorko made his first start since coming off the disabled list last Wednesday. He had pinch-hit twice before Tuesday.
Reds: CF Billy Hamilton could be activated soon to at least pinch-run, Price said. Hamilton has been sidelined since Sept. 7 with a fractured left thumb. He still leads the major leagues with 58 stolen bases.
Cardinals: RHP Luke Weaver gets the ball when the series resumes on Wednesday night. The rookie is 6-0 with a 1.36 ERA in his last seven games.
Reds: RHP Rookie Davis (1-2) pitches for Cincinnati. He worked two innings in relief against St. Louis last Tuesday and allowed two runs and four hits.