Yadier Molina hit a two-run homer and scored twice as the St. Louis Cardinals defeated the visiting Cincinnati Reds 5-1 in the first half of a day-night doubleheader Saturday.
Brendan Donovan drove in a run and scored twice for the Cardinals (86-60), who won for the fifth time in seven games to reduce their magic number to 10 to clinch the National League Central title.
Tommy Edman went 3-for-5 with his 30th stolen base and an RBI for St. Louis and Albert Pujols went 0-for-3 with two walks and remained stuck on 698 career homers.
TJ Friedl had an RBI double for the Reds (57-88), who lost for the eighth time in their last nine games.
Cardinals starting pitcher Dakota Hudson (8-7) stepped up from Triple-A Memphis to work a season-high eight innings. He held the Reds to one unearned run on six hits while striking out five batters and walking two.
Reliever Andre Pallante closed out the game with a scoreless ninth inning.
Reds starting pitcher Mike Minor (4-12) allowed five runs on five hits and five walks in three innings. Kyle Dowdy pitched four scoreless innings in relief to keep Cincinnati in the game.
The Cardinals took a 2-0 lead in the second inning. Paul DeJong drew a leadoff walk, Molina hit a one-out single, Edman hit a two-out RBI single and Paul Goldschmidt later drew a bases-loaded walk to force in a run.
Minor got Arenado to fly out to strand three runners and prevent further damage.
But the Cardinals pushed their lead to 5-0 in the third inning after Dylan Carlson, just back from the injured list after recovering from a thumb injury, hit a leadoff double. One out later Donovan hit an RBI single, then Molina launched his homer, his fifth of the season.
The Reds got on the scoreboard in the seventh inning when Matt Reynolds reached on an infield single, took second on Hudson’s throwing error and scored on Friedl’s double.
–Field Level Media