The St. Louis Cardinals are beginning to run away with the NL Central Division.
The Cardinals look to make it three straight wins since the All-Star break as they continue a four-game series against the Cincinnati Reds.
St. Louis has won back-to-back games against the Reds to move out to an eight-game lead ahead of the Chicago Cubs in the NL Central. It’s the largest lead by a division leader in all of baseball.
Marlon Anderson had a pinch-hit three-run homer in the eighth inning Friday to lift the Cardinals to a 7-5 victory.
“That will earn him a start tomorrow,” St. Louis manager Tony La Russa said of Anderson’s clutch homer. “He’ll be in there somewhere.”
It was Anderson’s fifth career pinch-hit home run, and his second this year.
Anderson homered off Reds closer Danny Graves, the majors’ saves leader with 33, after Reggie Sanders hit a two-run single to pull St. Louis to 5-4. It was the eighth blown save in 41 opportunities for Graves, whose record dropped to 1-4.
Cardinals closer Jason Isringhausen pitched the ninth for his 22nd save in 26 opportunities.
St. Louis will send Jason Marquis to mound on Saturday. The young righty is having a breakout season for St. Louis, having won eight of his last nine decisions.
Marquis has not lost a decision since May 26, going 6-0 with a 3.38 ERA in his last seven starts to improve his record to 9-4. He’s is 3-1 with a 2.92 ERA in six career starts against Cincinnati.
The Reds have lost three of their last four games to fall 9 1/2 games behind St. Louis.