CINCINNATI -- In a game where offense often ruled the night, the Cardinals pounded out a 12-7 victory over the Reds on Wednesday using four home runs -- including two by Brandon Moss -- and evened the three-game series at one game each.
The starting pitchers from both clubs were beat up in this one. Jaime Garcia lasted 4 2/3 innings for St. Louis while allowing five earned runs and 13 hits -- including two homers. Reds starter Alfredo Simon pitched five innings with six earned runs, seven hits, five walks and two homers.
"It was rough, that's all there is to it," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "You look how that second inning went, there was hard-hit balls and walks and walking the pitcher. He just created a lot of stress, a lot of traffic and fortunately the offense was relentless in how they kept coming back. That was a tough one for him."
Cincinnati played catch-up all night. Three batters into the game, St. Louis' Matt Adams socked a three-run homer to right field. It was 4-1 in the second inning as the Reds pecked away against Garcia before Zack Cozart hit a bases-loaded RBI single through the middle and Joey Votto lofted a soft RBI single to center field. Cozart led off the fourth with a homer to left-center field against Garcia to make it a 4-4 game.
Moss' first homer was a no-doubt two-run drive into the upper reaches of the right-field moon deck that put the Cardinals back ahead.
"Three hitters into it, and we're down, 3-0. He didn't seem like he really ever settled in," Reds manager Bryan Price said of Simon. "Even some of the innings where he was able to be a bit more competitive, from a command standpoint, he was extremely erratic."
Tucker Barnhart got a run back for the Reds with his solo homer to left field, but Moss made it a two-run game again in the seventh by hitting a two-out solo homer to right field against reliever Josh Smith. A four-run top of the eighth against JC Ramirez, including Jhonny Peralta's three-run homer, put the game away.
Credit to the Cardinals bullpen for stopping the Reds cold. Four relievers combined to retire 10 in a row following Garcia's departure, and 13 of the last 15 batters in the game. Matt Bowman faced one batter in the fifth inning and struck out Cozart to earn the victory.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Moss homers twice: In the fifth inning, Simon had already recorded two outs before giving up a hit to Peralta. Moss then belted a homer 426 feet into the right-field stands on a 2-1 pitch, breaking a 4-4 tie. Moss didn't wait long for his next one, either, taking Smith deep on a line-drive solo shot in the seventh that just cleared the right-field wall. More >
Cozart bolsters ASG credentials: The game was briefly tied when Cozart started the bottom of the fourth with his first-pitch homer to left-center field. It was his ninth homer of the season and fourth in his last nine games. Cozart, who ranks fifth in All-Star voting among National League shortstops, saved a run with a nice diving stop up the middle that robbed Matt Carpenter of a hit to end the seventh.
Peralta hits his first: After returning from his first career disabled-list stint with a two-double, 2-for-4 night on Tuesday, Peralta was at it again on Wednesday. Peralta finished 2-for-5, scoring two runs and driving in three courtesy of his eighth-inning, line-drive homer off of Ramirez, his first home run of the season.
"He's a good player," Moss said. "He's going to lengthen out any lineup. Put a right-handed bat in the middle of a lineup that can hit righties and lefties and drive in runs. He's a very -- even though people know who he is -- he's a very underrated player and a very underrated part of our team."
Heck of a catch: On an Adams fly ball to short center field leading off the fifth inning, Billy Hamilton had to make long run before making a great diving catch and a hard tumble for the out.
"It's always fun to watch these guys. Different guys doing it, too. Moss with a big day, Adams kind of getting us going there in the first. Just some good at-bats all the way through. Saw some hard-hit balls and guys grinding the at-bats, taking walks. Just a good offensive day." -- Matheny, on the offensive explosion
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With his RBI ground-rule double in the ninth, Brandon Phillips notched his 814th career RBI. That tied Phillips with Vada Pinson for ninth place on the club's all-time list.
WHAT'S NEXT Cardinals: The series finishes on Thursday at 6:10 p.m. CT with veteran Adam Wainwright on the mound. Wainwright has struggled early this season with a 5.40 ERA, but he's strung together two straight seven-inning starts. With a win, the Cardinals could advance to four games over .500 for the first time this season.
Reds: The series will wrap up with a 7:10 p.m. ET finale that has Brandon Finnegan pitching for Cincinnati. Finnegan snapped an eight-start winless stretch with his victory over the Nationals on Friday when he gave up four runs over 6 1/3 innings.