Missing sweep, Reds content with series win

Missing sweep, Reds content with series win

CINCINNATI -- Not only have winning series by sweeps been a rarity for the Reds in this trying 2015 season, they hadn't even been in a position to earn a sweep the entire second half until Sunday. There have been only four sweeps -- all being three games -- with the last coming from June 8-10 vs. the Phillies.

But in a four-game series finale on Sunday came a possibility for a sweep against a team in the Cardinals that has long had the Reds' number. The last three-game series sweep was July 13-15, 2012. The last four-game sweep the Reds enjoyed over St. Louis was way back on May 5-8, 2003. In a 9-2 loss, the Reds missed out though when first-place St. Louis salvaged a game.

"Of course, you hate to lose the last game. It takes a little bit of the glean off the series," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "However, if you walked into this series and said, 'Would you be happy with three out of four?' Absolutely, it's a first-place team that's given us a lot of trouble in our recent history, at least. To go out and play a really nice first three games, that was very satisfying."

Trying to play postseason disrupter, the last-place Reds held the Cardinals to three runs combined over the first three games, including an 11-0 shutout in Thursday's opener. The latter two games were both won on Saturday with homers: Adam Duvall's eighth-inning shot that claimed the completion of Friday's rain-suspended game and former Cardinal Skip Schumaker hitting his first homer of the season -- a three-run shot in the fifth inning -- to take the regular game.

"Three of four was nice," said third baseman Todd Frazier, who hit his 33rd homer of the season in the second inning on Sunday for a 1-0 Reds lead. "You look back on this series, we helped a couple of teams out to get closer to where they need to be. We played against a good Cardinals team. To take three out of four against them, we'll take that every day of the week."

On Sunday, it wasn't a pretty day for Cincinnati.

• A 2-0 lead was erased in the fifth as Reds starter Raisel Iglesias needed 35 pitches to get through the inning. It brought his closely-monitored total to 89 and hastened his exit. The inning featured four hits, two runs, a wild pitch and a warning to both benches when Iglesias came in on a bunting Michael Wacha. The Cardinals' pitcher had words for Iglesias before plate umpire Greg Gibson issued the warning.

• The Reds' bullpen surrendered seven earned runs and eight hits, including a two-run homer by Tommy Pham off of losing pitcher Sam LeCure. Five of the runs came in the eighth that blew the game open.

• Cincinnati's defense committed three errors, matching a season high.

• The offense only notched four hits in the game, with just two singles coming after Frazier's second-inning homer.

Billy Hamilton got the final hit with a single in the seventh but was caught stealing by catcher Yadier Molina for the first time. Hamilton had been 10-for-10 in steals in his brief career vs. Molina.

"Today didn't turn out how we wanted to but we have to move forward," Hamilton said. "We didn't pull it off today, but we've got to keep battling."

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.