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Latos pitches Reds to 4-2 win over Cardinals

CINCINNATI (AP) — Three Mat Latos starts against St. Louis. Three Cincinnati Reds wins — their only wins against the Cardinals this season.

That’s the record after Latos turned in seven solid innings and the Reds broke out of their slump with a 4-2 win over St. Louis on Saturday night.

“It felt real good,” said Latos, who didn’t get the decision in the Reds’ first win over St. Louis this season. “Against that lineup, any time you can hold them to two runs or less and not walk anybody is a good day. That’s a great lineup — not tough. Great.”

Devin Mesoraco homered and drove in two runs, and Jay Bruce also homered and turned in one of several eye-catching defensive plays as the Reds snapped a three-game losing streak and scored more than two runs against St. Louis for the first time in the last seven games between the teams.

Latos (6-0), who got the decision in Cincinnati’s last win over St. Louis on April 29, allowed eight hits and two runs with no walks and five strikeouts against a Cardinals team that went into the game leading the National League in hitting. He gave the Reds exactly what they needed.

“That was a very, very, very good ballgame,” manager Dusty Baker said.

St. Louis right fielder Carlos Beltran credited Latos with making adjustments.

“Every time we face Latos, he seems different,” Beltran said, who struck out to end the seventh as the last Cardinals batter to face Latos. “He mixes it up pretty good. He kept me off balance. When a pitcher can do that most of the time, he is going to be successful.”

Latos got help from several stellar defensive plays, including back-to-back grabs by center fielder Shin-Soo Choo and Bruce of deep drives against the wall in the sixth, and first baseman Joey Votto’s behind-the-back flip to Latos, who caught it barehanded and tagged first base to eliminate Matt Carpenter in the seventh. Latos rated that play and Bruce’s leaping catch of David Freese’s drive to the right field wall in the sixth as even.

“They were both outstanding,” he said. “I saw Joey out of the corner of my eye. That’s why I barehanded it. I wasn’t sure if Jay was going to catch that ball.”

The Reds, who’d lost five of their last six games against St. Louis, scored four against St. Louis rookie left-hander Tyler Lyons (2-2). He gave up six hits and a walk with two strikeouts in 5 1-3 innings before a sellout crowd of 40,740 at Great American Ball Park.

Jonathan Broxton pitched a scoreless eighth and Aroldis Chapman allowed one hit and hit a batter in the ninth while earning his 16th save.

The score was 2-2 when Derrick Robinson, a rookie outfielder making his first career start in the No. 2 slot in the batting order, led off the sixth with a double down the right-field line. Votto followed with a ringing double to straightaway center field. Robinson scored the go-ahead run, and Votto went to third on shortstop Pete Kozma’s errant throw to the plate.

Votto couldn’t score on Brandon Phillips’ groundout to a drawn-in Kozma or on Bruce’s swinging bunt infield single. Todd Frazier walked to load the bases, and Mesoraco grounded a single through the hole into left field for a 4-2 lead.

The Cardinals used fundamentals to take a 1-0 lead in the second. Yadier Molina lined Latos’ first pitch to right for a double, went to third base on David Freese’s fly out to deep right and scored on Jon Jay’s broken-bat groundout to second.

Bruce tied it in the bottom of the inning with his 10th homer of the season, a 382-foot solo shot into the right-field bullpen on a 1-0 pitch with one out.

Beltran and Allen Craig both extended hitting streaks while giving St. Louis a 2-1 lead in the third. Beltran extended his to nine games with a one-out double to left-center field and moved to third on Matt Holliday’s groundout to second. Craig hit a slow bouncer up the middle that shortstop Zack Cozart fielded behind second base, but his hurried throw took Votto off the bag, allowing Beltran to score. Craig was credited with an infield hit that gave him a 12-game hitting streak.

Mesoraco tied it 2-2 in the fifth with his third homer of the season and first since May 21, a 382-foot drive into the right-center field seats on a 1-0 pitch from Lyons.

NOTES: The Reds called up right-hander Curtis Partch from Triple-A Louisville on Saturday and optioned RHP Logan Ondrusek to the Bats, one day after Ondrusek gave up four hits and four runs in one inning of relief during Cincinnati’s 9-2 loss to St. Louis. … Beltran was back in the St. Louis lineup one day after leaving in the sixth inning with a sore quadriceps. … Carpenter wasted no time extending his hitting streak to 17 games, leading off the top of the first with a single to left. … Freese led off the fourth with a single, extending his career-high hitting streak to 18 games, the longest active streak in the majors. … Bruce’s 39 home runs off left-handed pitchers over the last four seasons leads all left-handed batters.