Reds 5, Cardinals 1

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ST. LOUIS (AP)—After a miserable stretch, Kyle Lohse is dominating hitters.

Lohse came within two outs of his second shutout in three starts and the Cincinnati Reds got home runs from Ken Griffey Jr., Edwin Encarnacion and Adam Dunn in a 5-1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday night.

“It’s in there,” manager Jerry Narron said of Lohse. “Stuff-wise, he’s as good as anybody. We really feel like the worst is behind him.”

Encarnacion had four hits and three RBIs for the Reds, who ended a four-game losing streak and avoided a three-game sweep. The Reds completed a 4-5 trip with 2004 first-round pick Homer Bailey set to make his major league debut on Friday in Cincinnati.

All of the homers came off Adam Wainwright (4-5), who allowed only four in his first 11 career starts. Wainwright lasted six innings and gave up four runs and eight hits.

“It’s not like I was getting crushed all night long,” Wainwright said. “I let a few hitters get away from me, that’s all it is. That’s all I’m going to think about.”

The Cardinals lost for only the second time in eight games. They’re 4-2 against the Reds, with all the games played in St. Louis.

Griffey led off the fourth with his 576th career homer and 13th of the season, all coming in the last 39 games. Brandon Phillips followed with a single and scored on Encarnacion’s fourth homer with one out for a 3-0 lead. Dunn added his 15th homer with two outs in the sixth.

Encarnacion is 16-for-27 (.593) during a seven-game hitting streak with a homer, five doubles and five RBIs. He’s started all 16 games at third base since being recalled from Triple-A Louisville on May 22, batting .410 (25-for-62) in that stretch.

“See the ball, hit the ball,” Encarnacion said. “That’s what I’ve been doing, being aggressive.”

Lohse (3-7) breezed through the first four innings, allowing only Adam Kennedy’s infield hit in the third. Juan Encarnacion doubled with one out in the fifth but stayed there when Kennedy and Gary Bennett flied out. Pinch hitter Aaron Miles and Albert Pujols singled to start the sixth and seventh, but both were erased in double plays.

His last three starts have been a marked improvement for Lohse, who lost six straight starts and had an 8.59 ERA over his last April start and first five May starts. The surge, including a loss at Colorado in his last start in which he allowed three runs in six innings, has come after a split-screen video session with pitching coach Dick Pole.

Lohse said the changes are subtle, including being a little more aggressive and not guiding the ball.

“Everybody wants to be perfect,” he said. “It’s just the nature of the game. We’re not robots.”

The Cardinals finally broke through against Lohse in the ninth. With one out, Pujols doubled off the wall in right and scored on Jim Edmonds’ single.

Lohse went 8 1-3 innings, giving up seven hits and one run with a walk and two strikeouts. Before the ninth, the Cardinals’ 3-4-5 hitters were 1-for-9.

“You don’t run across guys that throw the ball that well and their stuff is on all the time,” Edmonds said. “He knew what he wanted to do and he made pitches all night.”

Notes

Scott Rolen has an error-free streak of 51 games at 3B dating to last Sept. 27. … David Ross doubled in the ninth off Andy Cavazos, making his major league debut, to end an 0-for-19 slump. … The Reds won for the first time in five games with Scott Hatteberg batting leadoff, although Hatteberg was 0-for-5. … Phillips batted third, second and fourth in the three-game series. … Bennett was 1-for-3 with a double in the eighth, returning to the lineup two days after being beaned by Aaron Harang in the series opener. … Griffey has homered off 367 different pitchers, adding Wainwright to his list. … Pujols is 18-for-40 (.450) during a 10-game home hitting streak. … Miles had been 0-for-16 before his pinch hit in the sixth.

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