Wily Mo Pena tripled home the tiebreaking run in the 12th inning to cap his first three-hit game, and the Reds got 11 shutout innings from their bullpen to rally for a 4-2 victory Friday night.
“With all the damage we send to the plate, there’s no way we can’t get a mark or two somewhere there,” Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. “We’re better than that, no matter how good they pitched.”
St. Louis, which wasted a 2-1 lead in the ninth, has lost five of six. The Cardinals dropped two games behind NL Central-leading Houston and are 1 1/2 games back of the second-place Chicago Cubs.
La Russa and his players felt there was no carryover from the series in Chicago.
“I think everybody’s here wanting to get off on the right foot and have a good homestand,” Tino Martinez said. “We just got beat.”
Cardinals star Jim Edmonds missed his third straight start because of a bruised right knee, and slumping Edgar Renteria was given the night off. Albert Pujols hit a two-run homer in the first for the Cardinals. St. Louis got only four hits in the last 11 innings.
“If you can’t be contending yourself, this is what you want to be doing,” Randall said. “Obviously, it’s not nearly as good as being in the race, but it’s fun doing this, too.”
Isringhausen blew a save for only the second time in 19 chances. Tim Hummel, who homered in the sixth off Sterling Hitchcock, drew a leadoff walk, advanced on a wild pitch, took third on a single by D’Angelo Jimenez and scored on Sean Casey’s groundout to first.
“I didn’t do my job, it’s that simple,” Isringhausen said.
Hummel hesitated between third and home before Martinez, who had been playing even with the bag, threw to second for a forceout.
“Quite honestly, we wanted him to go as soon as it was hit,” Reds manager Dave Miley said. “It was almost bad baserunning on our part. Fortunately, it didn’t cost us.”
Jason LaRue, who had been in a 12-for-78 slump, got an infield hit off Jason Simontacchi (8-5) to start the 12th. Pena, who entered with a .176 average, followed with his first triple of the year and Eric Valent hit an RBI single. Valent was thrown out at the plate by center fielder So Taguchi when he tried to score on Hummel’s flyout.
Cincinnati overcame another outstanding start by Hitchcock, who has an 0.95 ERA in 19 innings since St. Louis acquired him from the New York Yankees on Aug. 22. He struck out eight and walked one in seven innings.
“One pitch that I’d like to have back, and we come away with a win,” Hitchcock said. “I wanted to get deeper in the game for the bullpen because they’ve been used a lot lately.”
Hitchcock said he tweaked his right hamstring or groin in the first, and his leg tightened in his last few innings.
Pujols took extra batting practice after going 4-for-19 in the Cubs series and also singled in sixth for his NL-leading 55th multihit game. Fernando Vina singled off Aaron Harang to start the first and scored on Pujols’ 38th homer, his high for a season.
Harang, who lost to the Cardinals last weekend in Cincinnati, left after the first because of a lower back strain. Todd Van Poppel, promoted from Triple-A Louisville on Wednesday, allowed two hits in six scoreless innings.
“It all started with Van Poppel,” Miley said. “That was huge for us.”
Pujols has one more multihit game than Renteria, who went 1-for-17 in the series at the Cubs. Renteria is expected to be back in the lineup on Saturday. … Edmonds flied out as a pinch hitter in the 10th and limped to first, and likely won’t start on Saturday. … Pujols hit 37 homers in 2001, his rookie year. … The Reds have scored three or fewer runs in 22 of their last 30 games. … Orlando Palmeiro is in a 3-for-21 slump and Miguel Cairo is hitless in his last 15 at-bats. … Hitchcock entered 2-3 with a 6.82 career ERA against the Reds in 11 games, six of them starts. … The Reds have a major league-leading 28 victories in their final at-bat. They’re 15-5 in extrainnings.