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- Jay Bruce
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By Jeff Wallner, The Sports Xchange September 5, 2013 10:31 PM
CINCINNATI -- Todd Frazier hit two home runs, and Shin-Soo Choo and Jay Bruce each hit solo homers, lifting the Cincinnati Reds to a 6-2 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals in the finale of a four-game series between National League Central contenders Thursday at Great American Ball Park. Frazier finished 3-for-4, Bruce went 2-for-4 with two RBIs, and Choo went 2-for-3 with two walks and two runs for Cincinnati, which took three of four in the series. The Reds (79-62) moved within three games of the idle first-place Pittsburgh Pirates in the NL Central. St. Louis (80-60) trails the Pirates by 1 1/2 games. St. Louis lost for the fourth time in five games against Cincinnati, a team it had beaten in seven straight series before this week. David Freese hit his seventh home run for the Cardinals. Reds starter Tony Cingrani (7-3) allowed two runs on four hits in 5 1/3 innings. He struck out seven and walked three. Cingrani missed 15 days with a lower back strain but came off the disabled list before Thursday's game. Cardinals starter Lance Lynn (13-10) allowed four runs, including three solo homers, in five innings. Lynn, who threw 102 pitches, lost for the first time in five career starts against Cincinnati. Lynn's pitch-count got elevated due to a 27-pitch first inning in which he walked three. In the second inning, Cingrani reached on a bunt single, recorded his first career stolen base, and later scored from third on Brandon Phillips' infield hit, putting the Reds ahead 1-0. In the third, Frazier launched Lynn's first pitch into the left field stands, giving Cincinnati a 2-0 lead. Choo added a 417-foot home run to center, making the score 3-0 in the fourth. Freese hit a solo homer leading off the fifth, but Bruce answered with a solo shot in the bottom half, giving the Reds a 4-1 advantage. In the sixth, Matt Carpenter tripled and scored on a wild pitch to trim the Cardinals' deficit to 4-2. Bruce's two-out RBI hit in the sixth made the score 5-2. Frazier hit his second home run in the seventh inning, his 15th this season. It was his third career multi-home run game, second this season. NOTES: Cardinals 1B Allen Craig underwent X-rays and an MRI exam Thursday, and they revealed no fracture in his left foot. "Looks like a sprained foot, much more optimistic than what we were thinking last night," manager Mike Matheny said. "The doctors are still kind of reviewing and looking at what we've got going on. But it's a big positive for us." Craig left Wednesday's game in the fourth inning after injuring his foot rounding first base. There is no timetable for his return. ... Cardinals C Tony Cruz started in place of Yadier Molina, who caught all 16 innings Wednesday. Molina struck out as a pinch hitter Thursday. ... Reds SS Zack Cozart extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a single in the third. ... According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Cardinals 1B Matt Adams is the first player in major league history to hit two homers in the 14th inning or later of the same game, a feat he accomplished Wednesday.