Cardinals pound Reds, 13-4
ST. LOUIS — Between Triple-A Memphis and St. Louis, Paul DeJong has belted 35 homers this year.
“Time to set a new goal,” he said. “I could say 37, but 40 sounds better than 37.”
Given the rate at which he’s hitting them, one might not want to bet against him reaching 40 — or more.
DeJong homered, doubled and knocked in two runs Tuesday night as the Cardinals kept their September surge going with a 13-4 rout of the Cincinnati Reds in Busch Stadium.
St. Louis scored in every inning but the fifth and eighth, producing multiple runs in five different innings. It finished with 14 hits and got RBIs from eight different players, including three from Yadier Molina.
Tommy Pham and Jose Martinez joined DeJong with two RBIs each. Leadoff hitter Matt Carpenter set a career high by walking in his first four plate appearances, then doubled home a run in the seventh before leaving for a pinch-runner.
Every starter scored a run or knocked one in against overmatched, inexperienced Cincinnati pitching. The first four Reds pitchers each gave up at least two runs.
Deck McGuire was the only one to escape unscathed, and even he had a humbling moment when he dropped a popup in the eighth inning.
It was the 11th win in 14 games for the Cardinals (76-68), which remained two games behind the Chicago Cubs for first place in the National League Central.
“We just have to do our thing, do what we can control,” St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said. “This time of year is fun.”
Especially when your offense is in attack mode from the start, as the Cardinals’ was in this one. Cincinnati starter Robert Stephenson (4-5) was 4-0 with a 2.08 ERA in his previous six outings but couldn’t throw strikes with any consistency and St. Louis cashed in.
Molina’s two-out, two-run double in the first set the tone. Pham drilled a two-out, two-run triple in the second and waltzed home on DeJong’s double off the left-center field wall.
Randal Grichuk added a sacrifice fly in the third for a 6-1 lead, and Martinez joined the fun in the fourth by lacing a two-run double down the left field line.
“Everyone is picking up each other,” Martinez said. “We’ve been trying to be like this since the first day. We go out there and try to be aggressive.”
Even after the Reds (62-83) closed within 8-4 with three fifth-inning runs, the Cardinals kept piecing together good at-bats. DeJong started the sixth with his 22nd homer for St. Louis, a 406-foot clout over the wall in center.
It was 10-4 two batters later after Molina drove in Martinez with a single down the right field line. The Cardinals added three runs in the seventh inning as a remnant from the former Hurricane Irma soaked the ballpark and drove most of the announced crowd of 40,030 to cover.
Stephenson lasted only three innings, permitting six runs (four earned) and five hits. He walked three and whiffed five.
“I just wasn’t sharp,” Stephenson said. “They had the leadoff man on every single inning. I wasn’t able to make quality pitches when I needed to.”
Lance Lynn (11-7) benefited from the run support, garnering his first win since beating the Reds on Aug. 3 in Cincinnati. Lynn pitched five innings, permitting four runs (three earned) and six hits. He walked none and fanned three.
Zack Cozart cracked his 20th homer of the year in the first for the Reds but also made a throwing error in the bottom of the inning that made both St. Louis runs unearned. Scott Schebler doubled twice and scored a run for Cincinnati, and Adam Duvall was 2-for-4 with an RBI.
NOTES: St. Louis recalled OF Magneuris Sierra from Triple-A Memphis and optioned INF Breyvic Valera to the Redbirds, who are in the PCL championship series. Sierra is 19-for-52 in 13 games with the Cardinals during two short stints earlier this year. .. Cincinnati reinstated OF Jesse Winker (left hip flexor) from the 10-day DL Tuesday while recalling RHP Keury Melia from Double-A Pensacola. The Reds also selected the contract of RHP Deck McGuire from Pensacola. ... St. Louis RHP Adam Wainwright (right elbow) threw a bullpen session Tuesday and will either repeat it Thursday or face live hitters. Wainwright, 12-5 with a 5.12 ERA, has been on the 10-day DL since Aug. 18.