Reds launch taters, Lamb sizzles in opener win

Reds launch taters, Lamb sizzles in opener win

CINCINNATI -- After blowing a sizable lead in the late innings, the Reds' bullpen was picked up by Joey Votto. It was his home run in the bottom of the ninth inning that gave Cincinnati a 7-6 walk-off victory over St. Louis on Tuesday at Great American Ball Park for its fifth win in its last six games.

Facing lefty Kevin Siegrist with one out, Votto lifted a 2-0 pitch and saw it carry into the left-center field bullpen for the game winner. According to Statcast™, it went an estimated 411 feet. It was also Votto's 11th long ball of the season and his fifth career walk-off homer.

"I got into a good count and stood behind the ball and made a good move on it, and I ended up finishing the game," said Votto, who came into the at-bat 0-for-10 in 15 career plate appearances vs. Siegrist. "For every one of those, there's 50 misses. I'm glad I didn't miss that one."

Votto's walk-off solo homer

Pitching in Cincinnati for the first time as a visitor, Cardinals starter Mike Leake saw his hot stretch of starts end abruptly in a no-decision. Leake, who was with the Reds from 2010-15 and a free-agent signing by the Cardinals in the offseason, finished with six earned runs and 10 hits over 6 1/3 innings with no walks and five strikeouts. He came into the night 4-1 with a 1.59 ERA over his last five starts.

A four-run fourth inning, including Adam Duvall's three-run homer, gave Cincinnati a 4-1 lead. It stretched to 6-1 in the seventh for Reds starter John Lamb, who topped the career-high he established in his previous start by working 7 1/3 innings with three runs (one earned), four hits, two walks and five strikeouts, but the lead evaporated in the late innings.

"The first two guys that got on base were [because of] decent pitches, and then that pitch [Duvall] hit for a home run wasn't a bad pitch, but it wasn't the greatest pitch," Leake said. "I think they just, they hit some good pitches, they also hit some bad pitches. They had a pretty good game."

Two errors by second baseman Brandon Phillips proved critical in letting St. Louis back in the game and led to three runs in the eighth -- including Jhonny Peralta's two-run double -- that made it a two-run game. Reliever Tony Cingrani gave up three hits in the ninth, including the game-tying two-run double by Matt Carpenter. He was still awarded the victory, as he was the pitcher of record when Votto went deep.

Carpenter's game-tying double

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Trade dividends: Before last summer's Trade Deadline, the Reds traded Leake to the Giants for two players that included Duvall. In the bottom of the fourth, it was Duvall who bested Leake with his three-run homer to left field. It was his team-leading 17th homer of the season, his fourth in five games and 10th in the last 15. According to Statcast™, the exit velocity on this long ball was 110 mph and it traveled 425 feet.

Duvall's three-run homer

Peralta doubles twice in debut: Peralta jumpstarted his 2016 campaign with a two-double, two-RBI game. His first came in the fourth inning, advancing Stephen Piscotty, who eventually scored, to third. His second came on a 2-1 pitch during the Cardinals' eighth-inning rally, bringing two baserunners home before he was lifted for a pinch runner. Peralta has been on the disabled list since March after he had surgery to repair a torn thumb ligament.

Peralta's first hit of 2016

"He had a nice program for rehab," Cardinals' manager Mike Matheny said. "We liked where he was, obviously. Came in today with two big doubles. We needed that, we needed a little spark there, and he provided it." More >

Peralta's two-run double

Lamb keeps it up: On the heels of the first seven-inning start of his career at Colorado on Wednesday, Lamb turned in a new career high with 7 1/3 innings vs. St. Louis. At one point, Lamb retired 10 in a row. He came out of the game with 112 pitches after Phillips' error on Carpenter's grounder. Lamb believed these last two starts were the best he's felt on the mound.

"[I'm] throwing my stuff for strikes. Everything felt pretty consistent within my delivery," Lamb said. "I felt like I had a little more ability to move the ball, whether that be in or down, out. It was just a good day to be out there."

Adams extends his streak: With a two-out single in the second inning, Matt Adams extended his hitting streak to a season-high seven games. Adams finished the game 2-for-4 after hitting an RBI single in the fourth inning to drive in the Cardinals' first run. Over the length of his hitting streak, Adams is hitting .375 with four RBIs.

QUOTABLE
"Siegrist has been tough on us from the time he came into the big leagues. We just don't have a group of guys that have handled him real well. I don't think the league has handled him real well. Joey took advantage of a 2-0 fastball up in the zone and brought us to this point, which is a nice place to be." -- Reds manager Bryan Price

"I think it's special when teams come back. I think it shows that you still care, you're still in the game. Even when you're down 6-1, you're still in it. That's a good feeling to have, when you're on a team and you watch a team that is like that." -- Leake on the Cardinals' near-comeback

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Reds committed a season-high four errors in the game, with two from Suarez at third base and two from Phillips in the eighth inning. It was the second two-error game of Phillips' career. It last happened on Aug. 7, 2006, vs. the Cardinals -- on the same play.

UPON FURTHER REVIEW
After turning a 1-2 count into a 10-pitch at-bat with four fouls against Jonathan Broxton and two outs in the Reds' eighth, Hamilton grounded to short and appeared to beat Aledmys Diaz's throw by a half-step. He was called out by umpire Chris Conroy. The Reds challenged the call, and it took only 32 seconds of review time for it to be overturned.

Hamilton safe after review

On the game-tying hit in the top of the ninth, Carpenter was originally called safe with a two-run triple. However. upon a Reds' challenge, umpire Sean Barber's call was overturned when it appeared Carpenter came off the base and was tagged by Suarez. It proved to be big in the game to take the potential go-ahead run off the bases.

Reds challenge Carpenter call

"I think they have to take into account when an umpire has position, and he had his face in that play," Matheny said. "You could see that it looked like it might've, his hand could've maybe rolled up on his foot or something might've happened, but … I can't imagine they had a better angle than what that umpire had right there."

"It's hard to slide in and do a feet-first pop-up slide and not at some point have your momentum leap you off the bag by a quarter inch," Price said. "Now these infielders are keeping the tags and holding the tags, and we're finding these little outs. I don't know if that's a good thing for the game. It helped us tonight."

WHAT'S NEXT
Cardinals: Jaime Garcia looks to continue his recent success in game two of the series against the Reds at 6:10 p.m. CT on Wednesday. In his last two starts, Garcia has pitched 12 innings, allowing four runs and striking out seven.

Reds: Coming off a good seven-inning start at Colorado, Alfredo Simon will try to build some momentum when the series with St. Louis continues at 7:10 p.m. ET. Simon has a 2-1 record and 3.33 ERA in four career starts against the Cardinals.

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Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Read his blog, Mark My Word, follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Cody Pace is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cincinnati.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.