Cardinals 8, Reds 2

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.