After Reds draw closer in the 8th, Cardinals pull away for 12-5 win

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Paul DeJong hit a three-run homer and a two-run single for a career-high five RBIs, helping Austin Gomber and the St. Louis Cardinals pound the Cincinnati Reds 12-5 on Friday night.

Matt Carpenter hit his NL-best 35th homer as St. Louis pulled within 3 1/2 games of NL Central-leading Chicago. Gomber (5-0) pitched seven effective innings and also contributed a two-run double.

The surging Cardinals have won eight of 10 to improve to 28-13 since the All-Star break. They also lead the NL wild-card standings.

Scooter Gennett and Scott Schebler had three hits apiece for last-place Cincinnati, which has dropped three straight and eight of nine. Homer Bailey (1-13) was charged with seven runs, three earned, and nine hits in five innings.

Gennett had an RBI single in the Reds’ two-run first, but the Cardinals took over from there.

Gomber hit a tying double before Carpenter connected in the second, sending a drive down the right-field line. DeJong added his 15th homer in the third.

Cincinnati closed to 7-5 when Schebler hit a two-run shot and Jose Peraza added a sacrifice fly in the eighth. But St. Louis responded with five runs in the bottom half.

Patrick Wisdom hit his second homer. DeJong drove in Yadier Molina and Jose Martinez, and Yairo Munoz added another two run single.

The Reds dropped 1-18 in Bailey’s 19 starts this year.

LOFTY COMPANY

Carpenter became the fourth lefty batter to hit at least 35 homers in a season for St. Louis, joining Stan Musial, Jim Edmonds and Johnny Mize.

PITCHING, PITCHING, PITCHING

Matt Wisler relieved Bailey in his first appearance with Cincinnati. Wisler was acquired in a July 30 trade with Atlanta and recalled from Triple-A Louisville on Friday.

Wisler allowed one hit in two scoreless innings. Infielder Brandon Dixon got the final out for the Reds, retiring Wisdom on a fly ball to deep right-center.

TRAINING ROOM

Cardinals: OF Marcell Ozuna (right shoulder inflammation) is expected to be activated Saturday, but manager Mike Schildt said the outfielder will see limited action for the near future. … RHP Michael Wacha (oblique) is scheduled to throw a bullpen session Saturday. He has been out since June 21.

UP NEXT

Reds: RHP Luis Castillo (7-11, 5.07 ERA) gets the ball on Saturday. He went 1-3 with a 5.57 ERA in four August starts.

Cardinals: RHP Daniel Poncedeleon (0-0, 2.08 ERA) returns as part of the team’s September promotions.