By HAL McCOY
So which team is competing for a playoff spot, the St. Louis Cardinals or the Cincinnati Reds.
Everybody knows that answer. The Cardinals.
But on Monday night in Busch Stadium III, the Reds played as if a wild card spot was just a sniff away, not 16 ½ away and long ago eliminated.
The Cardinals played like, well, the Reds on a normal day, instead of a team that was only a half-game away from a wild card spot when the night began.
THE REDS, THOUGH, HAD A Cavalcade of Stars on this night during a 22-hit 15-2 victory.
—Rookie Steve Selsky went 5 for 5, the first Reds rookie to go 5-for-5 since some guy named Wade Rowdon against the New York Mets in 1986. He drove in four runs and scored two.
—Adam Duvall had two home runs (32 and 33) and drove in five runs to reach 100 RBI for the year and had four hits.
—Brandon Phillips had four hits in his first four at bats, scored two and drove in two and stole two bases.
—And nearly lost in the run splurge was an excellent pitching performance by rookie Tim Adleman. He retired the first 10 Cardinals he faced and pitched a career-best seven innings, giving up two runs, four hits and no walks.
The Reds got rid of St. Louis starter Jaime Garcia after one inning and continued an all-out assault of relief pitchers Michael Wacha and Luke Weaver.
THEY SCORED TWO RUNS IN the first on back-to-back home runs by Joey Votto and Duvall.
Then they scored eight runs in three innings against Wacha and his replacement, Weaver.
By the time the top of the fourth inning ended, the Reds had 10 runs and 15 hits. Brandon Phillips already had three hits and two RBI, Steve Selsky had three hits and two RBI, Tucker Barnhart (1 for 13 when the game began) had three hits and an RBI, Votto had two hits and two runs scored. Duvall had two hits, two RBI and two runs scored.
THE REDS SCORED SEVEN RUNS in the fourth with Selsky and Barnhart each contributing two hits as the Reds sent 12 men to the plate.
And the onslaught/massacre continued in the fifth when Duvall hit his second home run of the game, a three-run blast that gave him 100 RBI for the season and his 33rd and 34th home runs.
Brandon Phillips followed the home run with his fourth hit of the night in four trips to the plate, a double. Then Selsky singled for his fourth hit, scoring Phillips to make it 14-1.
The 22 hits were the most by a Reds team since they had 22 against the Phillies in 2003.
Meanwhile, Robert Stephenson, Tuesday night’s starter, sat in the dugout probably thinking, “Hey, guys, save some of those runs for me.”