ST. LOUIS -- There would be no momentum sustained for the Cardinals a day after stealing one of their most improbable victories of the season. Instead it would be the Reds on Tuesday who pieced together a late-game rally to even the three-game series with a 7-4 victory at Busch Stadium.
Cardinals reliever Matt Bowman, who threw 27 pitches one night earlier, allowed three eighth-inning runs in an inning complicated by plays his defense did not make behind him. Back-to-back two-out doubles by Tucker Barnhart and Tyler Holt put the Reds back in front for the third time on the night. Singles by Billy Hamilton and Zack Cozart further padded that lead.
"For us to bounce back like that, it was amazing," Hamilton said. "We all played hard. Today was one of the good games when we can bounce back and get a win against a great team."
The loss dropped the Cardinals a game behind the Marlins in the race for the second National League Wild Card.
"You keep getting back in it and you hope we're able to revisit what we were able to do [on Monday] and [come] from behind," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "But we had trouble holding them down."
Reds starter Brandon Finnegan entered with a 12-inning scoreless streak and exited with his third straight quality start. He served up solo homers to Yadier Molina and Matt Holliday, but worked effectively around the six walks and other four hits he allowed.
"He didn't get down on himself," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "Sometimes when you're young and struggling with command, you can start telling yourself bad things. He got out of those jams and he pitched himself out of some big situations tonight and got himself through six and gave us a chance to win the ballgame."
Mike Leake, who had been tagged for 19 earned runs over his last three starts, pitched much better against his former team this time. Adam Duvall's two-run single in the third stung the St. Louis starter, as did the stolen bases against Leake. The Reds swiped four bases in total, and all four resulted in runs.
"He exposes your weaknesses pretty easily," Leake said of Hamilton, who has five stolen bases in the last two games. "He looks like he has a good idea of what to do. He does make it something to think about, for sure."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Steals to runs: Hamilton, who is now 20-for-22 in stolen-base attempts against Molina, scored in the third, seventh and eighth innings after stealing second base off Leake, Kevin Siegrist and Bowman, respectively. Scott Schebler was hit by a pitch in the fourth, stole second, advanced to third on a flyout to center, then scored on Barnhart's groundout. More >
"I think what stands out now is he's on base four times, two walks, much improved strike-zone command, not chasing," Price said. "Leake was doing everything he could, gave him the whole arsenal, breaking ball, changeups, cutters in, backdoor cutters and he just gave him really good at-bats and he's been doing that for a while."
Gone streaking: Molina extended his on-base streak to 22 games with his second-inning home run and later beat out an infield single to help the Cardinals manufacture their second run of the night. Molina's on-base streak is the longest by a Cardinals catcher since Gene Tenace reached in 35 straight games from 1981-82. During his on-base streak, Molina has hit .372 (29-for-78).
Triple switch: Price made a triple switch in the seventh inning, which later paid off. He subbed out Brandon Phillips and Schebler in the field and replaced them with Ivan De Jesus Jr. and Holt, respectively, while also making a pitching change. Holt's spot, at No. 9 in the batting order, came up in the top of the eighth after Barnhart hit a two-out double, and he hit a single up the middle for the game-winning RBI. Schebler left with calf tightness and Phillips had a small quadriceps strain, which the team will know more about on Wednesday, according to Price.
"It just played out well," Price said. "It was certainly no genius, it was just some good fortune."
Home(r) happy: It has been far from home sweet home at Busch Stadium for Holliday, who entered the night hitting .188/.278/.340 in his home park. But his fifth-inning home run -- a solo blast that Statcast™ tracked at 109 mph off the bat -- evened the game, and his seventh-inning double set up another game-tying run. It marked the third time this season that Holliday had posted two extra-base hits in a home game.
Top prospect Alex Reyes joined the Cardinals on Tuesday afternoon and made his Major League debut in the ninth inning. He opened his big league career with a strikeout of Duvall, who swung through a fastball that registered 101.4 mph on the radar gun. Reyes then induced two ground-ball outs to close the inning on 11 pitches. More >
"It's amazing. It's a dream come true," Reyes said. "Ever since I played baseball in Little League, this is the kind of moment I've dreamed about. I was out there having fun and it turned out pretty well for me."
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
The Cardinals lost their challenge in the third on an unsuccessful attempt to have an out call at third base overturned. Matt Carpenter boldly tried to go from first to third on a groundout by Stephen Piscotty, and replays confirmed the out call made on the field.
WHAT'S NEXT Reds: Cincinnati finishes its series with the Cardinals on Wednesday at 7:15 p.m. ET. Anthony DeSclafani, who was 3-0 with a 1.42 ERA against St. Louis last season, will take the hill for the Reds.
Cardinals: The Cardinals will close out their six-game homestand with Wednesday's series finale against the Reds at 6:15 p.m. CT. Jaime Garcia, who threw eight shutout innings in his last start, gave up five runs on 13 hits in 4 2/3 innings against the Reds back on June 8.