Cincinnati, OH, United States (4E Sports) – Shin-Soo Choo and Joey Votto homered to back up Mat Latos’ complete game as the Cincinnati Reds gained ground on the St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Central race with a 7-2 win in the opener of a four-game set Monday at Great American Ball Park.
Choo went 2-for-5 with two RBIs while Votto smacked his 21st homer to help make a winner out of Latos (14-5), who allowed two runs on four hits with a walk and two strikeouts in his first complete game this season and fourth of his career.
With the victory, the Reds (77-61) are now three games behind the Pittsburgh Pirates and 2 ½ games behind the Cardinals (79-58). The Cardinals and Reds also have the first two NL wild-card berths.
Adam Wainwright (15-9) took the loss after allowing six runs on 10 hits with three walks and two strikeouts as the Cardinals lost for the fourth time in last five games. It was the second time in his career that he had allowed six or more runs in consecutive starts.
Wainwright allowed a career-high nine runs during a career-low two innings in a 10-0 loss to Cincinnati this past Wednesday. The last time it happened was in April 2007, both against the Chicago Cubs.
Choo started the bottom of the first inning with a single to left field and was moved to second base on a Brandon Phillips sacrifice bunt. Choo later scored from third base on Ryan Ludwick’s two-out RBI single into center field to make it a 1-0 game.
In the second, Todd Frazier led off with a ground-rule double over the right-center-field wall and Zack Cozart followed with an RBI single to center field. Choo then hit a 1-0 pitch over the right-field fence for a two-run homer and a 4-0 lead.
St. Louis got two runs back against Latos in the third inning, using back-to-back doubles from Wainwright and Matt Carpenter for the first run. Carpenter, who went to third base on a sacrifice, scored on a Matt Holliday sacrifice fly.
After that, Latos quieted the Cardinals by retiring 21 of his final 22 batters.
In the third, Jay Bruce led off with a double to left field, Devin Mesoraco followed with a single before Frazier lined a RBI single to left field for a 5-2 lead.
In the bottom of the fourth, Votto increased the Reds’ lead with a two-out solo homer to the first row of seats in left field.