ST. LOUIS -- With one Jay Bruce swing providing all the support starter Anthony DeSclafani needed, the Reds snapped a skid of nine consecutive losing series at Busch Stadium with a 1-0, series-clinching victory over the Cardinals on Wednesday night.
Bruce's home run to lead off the second against John Lackey would be one of just two hits the Reds tallied off the Cardinals' right-hander. It landed just out of the reach of leaping center fielder Randal Grichuk, who made his return to the field after sitting two days with a groin strain.
DeSclafani didn't need any more, as he made his third scoreless start of the season. He finished seven innings, allowing three hits and not a single runner past second base. Along with Mike Leake's start a night earlier, the Reds posted their first back-to-back shutouts since May 31-June 1, 2013, and they recorded back-to-back shutouts in St. Louis in the same season for the first time since July 11, 1937, when they took both games of a doubleheader.
"There were six hits in the game, a great job by both pitchers," Bruce said. "It's not often that one run will decide a game in St. Louis against those guys. I can't say enough good things about Anthony. He pitched great. He was confident in his stuff. He commanded both sides of the plate, and we've seen a lot of that from him this year. I look forward to seeing more of it."
Lackey was the hard-luck loser, falling to 9-6 on the season despite throwing his ninth straight quality start. Following Bruce's blast, he allowed just two other baserunners before leaving after eight innings.
"I felt about as good tonight as I've felt all year," Lackey said. "I was locating all my pitches. [My] arm felt great. [Catcher Yadier Molina] was calling a great game, and yeah, I felt pretty good."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Bruce goes deep: Leading off the top of the second inning vs. Lackey, Bruce hit a 2-2 pitch that landed just over the wall in center field. It was Bruce's 17th homer of the season and career homer No. 199, enabling him to overtake Barry Larkin for ninth all-time in franchise history. It came amid trade rumors that Bruce has been a part of for the past couple of weeks.
"The significance lies in the fact that I've passed a Hall of Famer," Bruce said. "He's one of the best players to have played the game, and it's crazy to think I'm even mentioned in a conversation with these guys I'm being mentioned with. It's very humbling. I look forward to passing a lot more guys on the list." More >
Holliday reinjures quad: The same injury that cost Matt Holliday 31 games earlier this summer is going to shelve him again, as Holliday hobbled off the field after the first inning after suffering a right quad strain for the second time in less than two months. Holliday, who has been limited in mobility since coming off the disabled list on July 17, aggravated the old injury trying to beat out a double play. He was scheduled to undergo an MRI on Wednesday night to determine the severity.
"We were giving him the freedom that if he felt something, he should back off," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said, explaining the limitations Holliday had upon returning from his first quad strain. "We didn't see anything that was leading in the direction that we thought this would reoccur if he was able to monitor what it felt like. But that didn't work." More >
Speed demon:Billy Hamilton dropped a perfect one-out bunt to the left side of the infield in the third inning and easily beat the throw for a single. It was Hamilton's ninth bunt hit of the season. Moments later, Hamilton stole second base -- his league-leading 47th steal of the season. Hamilton is also 8-for-8 lifetime stealing against Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina -- including 6-for-6 over the last two seasons.
An absent offense: The Cardinals didn't give themselves many offensive chances on Wednesday, as they advanced only three runners into scoring position, and each with two outs. The club has not scored in its last 24 innings and has tallied runs in just one of its last 30 innings.
"It's frustrating, because you know the guys are doing a lot of things right up there at the plate, and we're doing a good job of keeping it simple," Jason Heyward said.
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With his fifth-inning single, Stephen Piscotty became the first Cardinals player to record a hit in his first six Major League starts since Nick Stavinoha in 2008.
It was the second time this season, and this month, that the Reds won a 1-0 game on a Bruce home run. It also happened July 10 at Miami.
"We're not having a great year, by any means. But to come in here and play good baseball against the Cardinals, who have such a great record and a great team, it still means something." -- Reds manager Bryan Price
"I jumped up and [my] shoulder [went] into the wall and kind of got blocked, and I just couldn't go up any higher. That ball has got to be caught. … I felt like if I don't jump into the wall, I'll be able to get up higher and clear the wall more." -- Grichuk, on his attempt to catch Bruce's home run
WHAT'S NEXT Reds: Returning home for a seven-game homestand, the Reds will open a four-game series vs. the Pirates at 7:10 p.m. ET Thursday. David Holmberg will be called up from Triple-A Louisville to make the start in the rotation spot vacated by Johnny Cueto.
Cardinals: The Cardinals will kick off a four-game series against the Rockies with a 6:15 p.m. CT game at Busch Stadium on Thursday. Carlos Martinez will start for St. Louis against Chris Rusin. Martinez is one of two 11-game winners on the team's staff and will be seeking his 12th consecutive quality start.