By HAL McCOY
It isn’t often the Cincinnati Reds win a game when they score only two runs.
It isn’t often the Cincinnati Reds win a game when Joey Votto goes 0 for 5. Or even 0 for 4.
It isn’t often the Cincinnati Reds win a game when relief pitcher Raisel Iglesias puts two on with one out in the eighth and puts the tying run on third base in the ninth with no outs.
THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT happened Wednesday night when the Reds beat the St. Louis Cardinals, 2-1, in Busch Stadium, punchig a huge hole in the Cardinals playoff aspirations.
WHAT, A PITCHER’S duel? That’s what it was after the two teams combined for 34 runs in the first two games of the series — Cincinnati by 15-2 Monday and St. Louis by 12-5 Tuesday.
REDS STARTER ANTHONY DESCLAFANI pitched six formidable innings, holding the Cardinals to one run and six hits over six innings.
Even though DeSclafani had only 82 pitches, manager Bryan Price decided he had enough and replaced him in the seventh with Michael Lorenzen.
Lorenzen, awesome all year against the Cardinals, was awesome again — eight pitches, six strikes, three quick outs.
Instead of permitting Lorenzen to pitch the eighth with a 2-1 lead, Price brought in Raisel Iglesias — and the fun began.
HE WALKED MATT CARPENTER to open the eighth and with one out he hit Yadier Molina with a pitch, putting runners on second and first with one out.
With Stephen Piscotty batting, Iglesias threw a wild pitch, putting the tying run on third and the go ahead run on second.
But he struck out Piscotty and escaped with a ground ball to third baseman Eugenio Suarez, with first baseman Joey Votto digging the throw out of the dirt.
Then came the ninth. Pinch-hitter Kolten Wong narrowly missed a game-tying home run in the right field corner. The ball hit the wall and Wong ended up at third with a triple.
WITH NOBODY OUT AND THE tying run on third, Iglesias escaped again. Ademys Diaz grounded to third, Greg Garcia popped to shallow left and pinch-hitter Jedd Gyorko grounded to third.
The defeat probably eliminated the Cardinals from the playoffs, the first time in six years they won’t qualify.
The Reds caught a lucky break to score their two runs off former teammate Mike Leake. It happened in the third inning.
JOSE PERAZA, SPORTING THE third best average in the National League since August 20, poked a one-out single to left field, one of his three hits on the night. And it was his 15th multi-hit game since his recall from Louisville on August 20.
Hernan Iribarren, playing center field, singled to center field, bringing up Joey Votto. He grounded out to second, moving the runners to third and second with two outs.
Adam Duvall blooped one down the left field line, just out of reach of three converging defenders, and two runs scored when the ball crash-landed in the grass.
THE ONLY RUN OFF DESCLAFANI came in the fifth when the Cardinals put runners on first and third with no outs. The only run scored, though, while pinch-hitter Matt Adams grounded into a double play.
The Reds had their offensive problems, too. Duvall led the eighth with a triple. St. Louis manager Mike Matheny brought in his closer, Sueng Hwan Oh, and he struck out the side — Eugenio Suarez, Steve Selsky and Tony Renda, playing second base for injured Brandon Phillips (finger).
Manager Bryan Price was ecstatic with the win in a game in which he was missing Brandon Phillips, Zack Cozart, Billy Hamilton, Scott Schebler (injured leg) and Devin Mesoraco. And Mesoraco’s replacement, Tucker Barnhart, was on the bench.
“It was the most satisfying victory we’ve had in recent history,” Price told FoxSportsOhio after the game.
It was DeSclafani’s final start of the season and, after losing his last three starts, he won this one to push his final accounting to 9-and-5 with a 3.28 earned run average.