Cincinnati, OH (SportsNetwork.com) - Yadier Molina smacked a solo homer and scored two runs and the St. Louis Cardinals defeated the Cincinnati Reds, 6-3, in the middle test of a three-game set.
Matt Holliday posted three hits, an RBI and a run scored, while Jon Jay added a pair of RBI singles among his trio of hits for St. Louis, which has won eight of its last 10 games.
Jaime Garcia (1-0) struck out seven and allowed two runs on six hits over 5 2/3 innings to notch the win. Trevor Rosenthal recorded the final out for his 15th save of the year.
Tony Cingrani (2-4) surrendered four runs on seven hits and three walks over six frames for the Reds, who had won three of their last four tilts coming in.
"It wasn't a great game," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "We didn't put enough pressure on Garcia early in the game."
The Cardinals had already held a 2-1 edge through five innings, but extended that margin after plating a pair in the sixth.
Holliday singled to begin the frame before Allen Craig and Jhonny Peralta worked walks around a Molina flyout to load the bases with one away. Mark Ellis lifted a sacrifice fly to center to bring home Holliday and Jay's base hit into left center plated Craig for a 4-1 Cards advantage.
"That's what good teams do, just keep adding on, adding on," Ellis said. "That's something we weren't doing early in the year, but we're doing a lot better job lately. It's huge to get those add-on runs."
The Reds got a run back in the sixth, but it could've been more.
Chris Heisey doubled and Todd Frazier singled to put runners on the corners before Brandon Phillips banged a double into right to score Heisey and cut the deficit in half.
With runners on second and third with none away, Devin Mesoraco lined out and Jay Bruce struck out swinging. Carlos Martinez then came on and fanned Ryan Ludwick to end the threat.
The Reds had runners on second and third with two outs in the seventh, but Martinez struck out Frazier to get out of the inning.
St. Louis added to its cushion after pushing across two more in the eighth on RBI singles by Jay and Matt Adams for a 6-2 spread.
Ludwick cracked a leadoff shot in the ninth against Jason Motte and after Skip Schumaker worked a two-out walk, Rosenthal came on to replace Motte. Billy Hamilton singled to bring the tying run to the plate in Frazier, but Rosenthal struck him out to end the game.
Earlier, Holliday's one-out RBI single opened the scoring for the Cardinals in the first and Molina's leadoff shot into right center in the fourth made it 2-0.
Zack Cozart's two-out single in the fifth trimmed the gap to 2-1.