Joey Votto connected on a three-run homer and Tyler Mahle returned from the injured list with six solid innings Sunday as the Cincinnati Reds beat the visiting St. Louis Cardinals 6-3 to win the second of three games in a weekend series.
Mahle (4-7), a potential target leading up to the Aug. 2 trade deadline, made just his first start since July 2 against the Atlanta Braves after missing three weeks with a strained right shoulder.
Reiver Sanmartin and Alexis Diaz each pitched a scoreless inning of relief before Hunter Strickland pitched a perfect ninth for his fifth save in seven chances.
The Cardinals’ Paul Goldschmidt continued his tear against Reds pitching, hitting two home runs off Mahle to give him five homers in his last four games – all against Cincinnati – after a 17-game homerless drought.
While the Reds won the series, the Cardinals finished took three of the five games from Cincinnati in the two series that wrapped around the All-Star break.
The Reds broke through against St. Louis starter Miles Mikolas (7-8) for four runs in the third. Tommy Pham lifted a bases loaded sacrifice fly to deep right to score Nick Senzel. Votto followed by driving a Mikolas breaking ball into the first row of seats in left-center for his eighth homer and 4-0 Cincinnati lead.
Mikolas allowed six runs on seven hits in five innings, just the third time in 20 starts the right-hander was tagged for four or more earned runs.
Goldschmidt cut the lead in half with a two-run homer off Mahle in the fourth, the first hit off Mahle, who retired the first eight batters he faced before allowing a two-out walk in the third.
The Reds then answered with a pair of runs in the fourth when Tyler Naquin singled home Mike Moustakas with two outs. The Reds scratched across another run when Matt Reynolds took off for home as Naquin intentionally got caught in a rundown between first and second on a failed stolen base attempt.
Goldschmidt’s second homer, this one to right field, made it 6-3 in the sixth but Mahle completed the inning. He allowed three runs over six innings, good for his eighth quality start.
–Field Level Media