Reds lose once again to Cards

Published 3:11 am Wednesday, August 28, 2013

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Cincinnati Reds manager Dusty Baker is tired of losing to the St. Louis Cardinals.

Baker was extremely frustrated after Cincinnati fell 6-1 at St. Louis on Tuesday night for its eighth loss in the last 10 games against the Cardinals.

“They’re beating us pretty well and we’ve got to change it,” Baker said.

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The Reds are 4-10 against the NL Central leaders this season. They have dropped their last seven series against the Cardinals after losing the first two games of this three-game set.

Cincinnati’s last series win over St. Louis was July 13-15, 2012, in the first series after the All-Star break.

“I don’t know what it is,” Cincinnati infielder Zack Cozart said. “Obviously, they’re a great team and they’ve got a great lineup from top to bottom.”

Mat Latos allowed four runs and nine hits in six-plus innings for the Reds. He has dropped two of his last three starts.

Latos, like his teammates, is getting tired of the Cardinals’ recent dominance.

“It’s frustrating, but they’re a good team,” he said. “Things just aren’t falling for us against them of late.”

Matt Holliday went 2 for 3 with an RBI single for St. Louis, which has won six of seven. Joe Kelly (6-3) scattered eight hits and allowed one run in six innings.

The Cardinals moved 1 1/2 games ahead of second-place Pittsburgh, which lost to Milwaukee, and 4 1/2 games up on the Reds, who won the division last year.

Kelly improved to 6-0 since rejoining the starting rotation on July 6. He has won each of his last three starts and five of his last six overall.

“I made pitches when I had to and I enjoyed that,” Kelly said. “My arm felt good. They got guys in scoring position a couple times, I just tried to bear down and leave those guys out there.”

St. Louis manager Mike Matheny is impressed with Kelly’s recent run.

“Joe did a good job, he had great life again,” Matheny said. “He just keeps making good starts for us.”

The hot-hitting Holliday had a rough game at the plate, at least physically. He fouled two separate pitches off his foot and toe in different at-bats. He also was plunked on the shoulder by a pitch from Alfredo Simon in the eighth.

The last blow signaled the end of his day.

But he went 2 for 3, including a big single in St. Louis’ two-run first. He is batting .346 with three homers and 10 RBIs over his last seven games.

The Cardinals went 4 for 11 with runners in scoring position.

“That’s the type of team that we are,” Holliday said.

Holliday admitted that he was sore after the rough night. He even joked he would soon be wearing a catcher’s shin guard to the plate to prevent any further damage.

The Cardinals needed just 14 pitches to take a 2-0 lead. Matt Carpenter and Carlos Beltran began the first back-to-back singles. Holliday then singled in Carpenter, who scored his major league-leading 100th run. Beltran scored when Allen Craig bounced into a double play.

Choo hit a leadoff drive in the fifth for his 100th career homer, but the Cardinals answered with single runs in the sixth and seventh and scored twice in the eighth.

Craig pushed the lead to 3-1 with a run-scoring double in the sixth, giving him 96 RBIs on the year. Carpenter brought in Jon Jay with a sacrifice fly in the seventh.

“A loss is a loss, you’ve just got to play better baseball,” Baker said. “There are a few things we’ve still got to learn about playing winning baseball.”

Baker was particularly upset with a baserunning error by Zack Cozart in the fourth inning. Cozart and Jay Bruce ended up on third base at the same time after Bruce was held while rounding third on a hit by Latos. The play ended the inning.

Had Cozart stopped at second and noticed Bruce was being held up, the Reds would have had the bases loaded for Choo.

“It’s my (mistake) definitely,” Cozart said. “It was a bad play. You have to keep your head up. When I got to third I was surprised Jay was even there. That was a big part of the game.”

Baker was not in a forgiving mood.

“Sometimes guys have got to be held accountable for their actions,” he said. “They’re all big boys, they’re all getting paid here.”

NOTES: Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright (15-7, 2.58 ERA) faces Homer Bailey (8-10, 3.71) in the final of the three-game series Wednesday. Bailey is 0-5 with a 6.90 ERA in seven career starts at Busch Stadium. … St. Louis INF Pete Kozma is mired in a 0-for-23 slump. … The Cardinals are 34-22 against NL Central opponents this season with 22 divisional games remaining. … The Reds have spent the past 127 days in second, third or fourth place. …Latos had two hits for his second multihit game of the season. …The Cardinals have doubled in a season-high 18 consecutive games.