Kivlehan, Votto: Bombs away over Cardinals


CINCINNATI — Scooter Gennett did not hit a home run Wednesday night. Nothing close.

After hitting home runs in his last four at bats against the St. Louis Cardinals Tuesday night, Gennett was en route to a back-to-earth thud — a double play on his first at bat and a strikeout in his second at bat. And he hit into another double play on his last at bat.

Scooter, though, was not to be silenced for the entire night, even though in three at bats he accounted for five outs.

WITH THE CINCINNATI REDS down three runs in the seventh inning Gennett was an igniter, an important single that torched a five-run inning that led to a 6-4 victory.

The Cardinals, in a bungee cord fall without a bungee cord, have lost five straight and eight of their last 10, enabling the Reds to swoop past them into third place in the National League Central.

St. Louis manager Mike Matheny brought in left hander Brett Cecil to protect a 4-1 lead that Lance Lynn owned after six.

When the clouds lifted, the Cardinals had lost for the 14th time when they had a two-run lead or more.

But left hander Scott Schebler beat an infield hit to second base and left hander Gennett singled sharply to center, putting runners on second and first with no outs.

AFTER DEVIN MESORACO STRUCK out, pinch-hitter Patrick Kivlehan picked on the first pitch he saw and turned it into a three-run home run, the first pinch-hit of his career.

That tied the game, 4-4. With two outs, Zack Cozart doubled and Matheny made a strange move.

He had left hander Kevin Siegrist warmed up in the bullpen and Siegrist usually wraps up Joey Votto in velcro. But Matheny brought in right hander Trevor Rosenthal.

It took the grateful Votto one pitch to rip a two-run, game-deciding home run over the left center wall, Votto’s 15th homer, and a 6-4 Reds lead.

Why Rosenthal and not Siegrist. The Cardinals bullpen is a four-car pileup. Matheny doesn’t trust Siegrist (4.57 earned run average) and only trusts Rosenthal.

When Votto was asked what it means that the Reds have come-from-behind 13 times to win this season, Votto said with a grin, “We need to get ahead and stay ahead.”

BRONSON ARROYO STARTED for the Reds and held the helpless Cardinals to no runs and one hit over the first two innings.

He gave up three runs and three hits in the third and left after 5 2/3 innings. Wandy Peralta replaced Arroyo with two outs in the sixth and gave up a run-scoring double that was charged to Arroyo’s account.

But Peralta and the bullpenners who followed him were spotless after that. Peralta’s line was 1 1/3 innings, no runs, two hits. Michael Lorenzen pitched a scoreless, one-hit inning and Raisel Iglesias finished it off in 1-2-3 fashion for his 11th save.

“This team never ceases to surprise,” said manager Bryan Price. “Sometimes you are just amazed that this is happening. You never get tired of it, I can tell you that.”

OF KIVLEHAN’lS GAME-TYING home run, Price said, “He put a good at bat together and didn’t try to do too much. He stayed in the middle of the field and drove the ball to right center. It was a big moment for him personally, but a huge moment for us to put ourselves in a tie game knowing we have Lorenzen and Iglesias ready to go.”

Kivlehan has not been thrilled with his recent pinch-hitting results (3 for 20 before his at bat).

“Before that inning I was talking to somebody and I knew it had been a while since I had a hit or a pinch-hit,” said Kivlehan. “So I said, ‘Screw it. If I pinch-hit today, I’m not taking any practice swings. I’m just going to grab my bat and go up there.’ It seemed to have worked today.”

Pinch-hitting isn’t something Kivlehan has done much, but it is the main reason he is on the roster.

“I like it, but I’m obviously learning,” he said. “It is something I’d never done before and it is something you can only learn to do with repetitions. So, the more repetitions I get the better I’ll get at it.

“I like the pressure situations, too,” he added. “I feel less pressure hitting in big situations because you just have to do a little bit and not a lot.”

A three-run game-tying home run? If that was a little bit, it turned into a lot.

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