Tommy Pham made the most of a rare start, giving his St. Louis Cardinals a needed boost.
Pham hit a tiebreaking, two-run homer in the sixth inning, pinch-hitter Matt Adams added a two-run drive in a five-run eighth and the St. Louis Cardinals rallied to beat the Cincinnati Reds 9-2 Sunday and avoid getting swept in the four-game series.
“Just to be able to get a start and help the team out was a truly good feeling,” said Pham, whose start on Sunday was his second in 10 games since striking out four times against Washington and Max Scherzer.
The Cardinals, on their worst stretch this season, had lost eight of 10 going into the series finale, and their division lead over Pittsburgh was down to 2 1 / 2games. St. Louis then fell behind 2-0 on Todd Frazier’s second-inning homer and Tucker Barnhart’s fourth-inning sacrifice fly.
“We played a good Cardinal team and took three out of four,” Frazier said. “We'll take that any day of the week. We helped a couple teams. We made the race a little closer. It’s hard to take four from any team.”
Those were the only runs the Reds would score against Michael Wacha (16-5), who allowed three hits and four walks in six innings.
Outscored 20-3 in the first three games, the Cardinals tied the score in the fifth against Raisel Iglesias on Kolten Wong’s run-scoring infield single and Matt Carpenter’s RBI single.
Sam LeCure (0-1) walked Greg Garcia and Pham homered on a 2-2 pitch for a 4-2 lead, his second home run of the season and first since July 5.
St. Louis broke open the game in the eighth against Carlos Contreras, when Barnhart’s passed ball allowed Wong to come home from third, and Jason Heyward hit an RBI double and scored on Yadier Molina’s single.
The Reds bullpen allowed seven runs, snapping a 14 2-3 a stretch of consecutive scoreless innings.
“I’m not going to use (J.J.) Hoover and (Aroldis) Chapman every game to keep it close,” manager Bryan Price said. “We got some of the other guys out there and it got out of hand.”
Adams, was activated from the disabled list on Wednesday after missing 91 games with a right quadriceps injury, homered for the first time since May 20.
“Lots of people contributing again,” manager Mike Matheny said. “You saw some big at bats all the way through, and Michael came up big today.”
Jason Heyward, who watched Adam Duvall’s go-ahead, two-run homer bounce off the top of the wall in Saturday’s completion of a suspended game, made a leaping catch in right to rob Ivan De Jesus Jr. of what would have been a go-ahead home run in the fifth.
Todd Frazier’s 33rd home run on Sunday is the third-highest total for a Reds’ third baseman in franchise history. Only Hall of Famer Tony Perez has hit more – 39 in 1970 and 37 in 1967.
St. Louis C Yadier Molina threw out Billy Hamilton trying to steal second base in the seventh inning on Sunday. Hamilton had been 10-for-10 in his career against the All-Star and Gold Glove winner, the longest active streak by any player. The stretch included two in this series that included two throwing errors on Molina.
Cardinals: Manager Mike Matheny wouldn’t commit to RHP Adam Wainwright (Achilles tendon) or OF Matt Holliday (quadriceps strain) returning for the series in Milwaukee that starts Tuesday.
Reds: RF Jay Bruce and 2B Brandon Phillips both got Sunday off.
Cardinals: After an off day, RHP Carlos Martinez (13-7) starts at the Brewers. Reds: RHP Keyvius Sampson (2-4) is Cincinnati’s scheduled starter in Monday’s opener of a three-game series in San Francisco.