CINCINNATI -- In a game where the lead changed hands five times, the Reds overcame a four-homer night and an eighth-inning escape act by the Cardinals to steal an improbable 7-5 victory at Great American Ball Park when Scott Schebler capped his return to the Majors with a towering walk-off blast.
St. Louis' wobbly bullpen cracked twice, first allowing the Reds to inch ahead in the seventh and then sending Cincinnati to its sixth walk-off victory of the season. The Cardinals, who fell nine games back of the Cubs in the National League Central and remain a half-game behind the Marlins for the second Wild Card spot, had been 51-2 when leading after eight innings.
The Reds, who had earlier gone ahead with homers by Tucker Barnhart in the fifth and Adam Duvall in the seventh, followed a blown scoring opportunity in the eighth by getting to Cardinals closer Seung Hwan Oh in the ninth. Leadoff singles by Joey Votto -- who had four hits -- and Duvall set up Schebler's towering shot into the right-field seats. Schebler had been recalled from Triple-A Louisville earlier in the day.
"That was something, man, especially after having the bases loaded, nobody out and the same pitcher getting the big strikeout and the double play to end the [eighth] inning," Reds' manager Bryan Price said. "That kid's been, Oh has been sensational. He's really been good."
An inning earlier, the Reds had loaded the bases with no outs before watching that opportunity fizzle as Oh notched a strikeout of Billy Hamilton and induced an inning-ending double play. Oh came out to try and cover the ninth, too, in what would have been the first two-inning appearance of his Major League career.
"That's the only guy I want on the mound right there," said Cardinals manager Mike Matheny -- who had Oh hit with the bases loaded and two outs in the top of the ninth, when he struck out against Jumbo Diaz.
Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright, who labored for five innings on the mound, connected for the first of the Cardinals' four home runs. Jedd Gyorko delivered a go-ahead homer in the seventh, Brandon Moss a game-tying homer in the eighth, and then Tommy Pham, with a pinch-hit homer, pushed the Cardinals back in front again.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Welcome-back party:Taking the lineup spot of Jay Bruce, who was traded to the Mets on Monday, Schebler mashed a homer that traveled 412 feet from home plate and came off the bat at 110 mph, according to Statcast™. Schebler finished the game 3-for-5, raising his average nearly 30 points to .217. It was Schebler's second career homer and second walk-off hit, his previous one coming on April 6 in his first stint with the Major League team.
"I didn't know if it was going to stay fair, so I kind of stood there longer than I wanted to, but it stayed fair," Schebler said. "Got a good pitch to hit. That guy's tough. I didn't really see the first pitch too well, to be honest, and then I kind of, as I saw him, he threw me another fastball and another fastball, so I kind of adjusted, which was nice to see another fastball." More >
Pinch me:Pham's home run was the 11th pinch-hit blast by the Cardinals this season, establishing a franchise record. The 1998 club had set the previous benchmark with 10. Cardinals pinch-hitters have a Major League-best .353 average this season and need three more pinch-hit blasts to tie the big league record of 14, reached by the D-backs and Giants in 2001.
"Getting a pinch-hit is difficult, let alone a home run," said Moss, who has three of them in a pinch. "I think pinch-hitting, this is the best team I've ever seen. Here, we know we're being put in a certain position in a certain spot for a certain reason, and most of it is to drive the ball."
Votto displeased, makes amends: On a foul ball down the first-base line from Stephen Piscotty in the seventh inning, Votto reached into the stands to make the catch, but he was bumped by a fan and dropped it. Upset about missing the play, Votto pulled at the Reds logo on the fan's shirt before walking away. Votto felt bad about it afterward, though, and before the eighth, stopped to apologize to the fan, presented him with a signed baseball that included a handwritten apology and posed for a quick picture. More >
Bail out: It wasn't the smoothest of organizational debuts for Cardinals reliever Zach Duke on Tuesday, but he got out of it unscathed with some help from fellow lefty Kevin Siegrist.
After Duke walked two to load the bases, Siegrist closed the sixth inning with a strikeout of Hamilton. Two innings later, the Reds loaded the bases against Jonathan Broxton with two walks and an error, before Oh got out of that jam.
"I wasn't as sharp as I was accustomed to being," Duke said. "I believe as a bullpen that we're better than what we showed tonight. Kevin picked me up big tonight. Mr. Oh with the Houdini-act in the eighth was great. We'll be more consistent." More >
"It's National League baseball. We had a chance to, what was it, 2-2 right there? We had a chance to take a lead. I mean, nothing you can do. Who knows what would've happened? Maybe I would've gotten my first hit, but probably not. It's just National League baseball. I try really hard not to pay attention to pitch count. I didn't even know I was at like 78 pitches until I was already back in here." -- Reds starter Dan Straily, on being pulled for a pinch-hitter in the sixth. Straily allowed two runs over six innings and struck out four
"These are painful, just like the other ones are painful. You don't want to get beat 11-0 either. When you have it as close as this, it can be kind of heartbreaking. But we'll show up tomorrow ready to play." -- Wainwright, on losing on walk-off hits in back-to-back games
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
• With his third-inning homer, Wainwright became the first Cardinals pitcher since Bob Forsch (1986) to tally 11 RBIs in a season. Wainwright has tied his career high with two homers on the season and has oddly seen all seven of his hits this season go for extra bases.
• With the leadoff home run from Gyorko in the seventh, the Reds set a franchise record with 21 homers allowed to the first batter a bullpen pitcher has faced in a game. They went on to add a 22nd when Blake Wood allowed Moss' dinger to lead off the eighth.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
In the seventh inning, with Brandon Phillips on first, Cardinals first baseman Matt Adams fielded a high chopper from Schebler, stepped on first and threw the ball to second to try to get Phillips, who retreated to first and got under the tag attempt, according to first-base umpire Scott Barry. The Cardinals challenged the call, and after review, it was determined that Adams tagged Phillips before he got to the base, and he was ruled out.
Cardinals:Michael Wacha draws the start against the Reds on Wednesday at 6:10 p.m. CT, seeking his fifth straight win. Wacha, who took a no-decision in a start against Cincinnati back in April, is 5-1 with a 1.84 ERA in 11 career games (10 starts) against the Reds.
Reds:Cody Reed takes the mound for the 7:10 p.m. ET first pitch looking to find his stride. Since his seven-inning Major League debut, Reed has one quality start and is coming off of a six-run (five earned), five-inning performance against the Giants.