CINCINNATI - David Freese tripled and drove in four runs and Allen Craig homered and drove in three as the suddenly explosive St. Louis Cardinals rolled to a 13-3 win over the Cincinnati Reds in the opener of their three-game series on Friday night.
Carlos Beltran had three hits, including two doubles, and scored four runs, and Daniel Descalso enjoyed his first career multi-homer game as the Cardinals (64-44) scored 13 runs for the second consecutive game after scoring a total of 10 during a seven-game losing streak when they lost their grip on first place in the National League Central Division.
Descalso's second homer of the game, off Logan Ondrusek leading off the seventh, gave Cincinnati pitchers a season high in runs allowed. The third-place Reds (60-50) have lost six of their last seven games while falling five games behind St. Louis in the Central.
Shelby Miller, who allowed one hit in six shutout innings against the Reds in his first major league start in the 2012 regular-season finale, was only slightly less effective on Friday. The right-hander allowed one hit and retired eight straight Cincinnati batters, seven on strikeouts, over his first three innings. He added two more scoreless innings before giving up a three-run homer to Joey Votto in the sixth, Votto's 17th of the season and 150th of his career with the Reds.
Miller (11-7) allowed five hits and three runs with three walks and eight strikeouts in five innings.
The Cardinals picked up where they left off in Thursday's 17-hit, 13-0 win in Pittsburgh.
Five straight batters reached base with one out in the first inning against Bronson Arroyo. Three runs scored on Freese's booming, bases-loaded double to deep left-center field. Freese scored on Jon Jay's bad-hop single that glanced off second baseman Brandon Phillips's glove and into right field, giving St. Louis an early 4-0 lead.
Beltran lined a double to the left-center field gap with two outs in the second and scored on Craig's sharp single to left for a 5-0 lead.
Arroyo needed 54 pitches to get through the first two innings and left after logging a season-low 3 2/3 innings, allowing eight hits and seven runs, tying his season high for runs allowed in a game.
The Cardinals added four runs in the fourth as reliever Curtis Partch walked two batters with the bases loaded before Jay lined a two-run double into the left field corner.
Descalso led off the fifth with St. Louis' second home run since the All-Star break and first since July 26. Craig added a two-run shot with two outs.
The Reds had a chance to score in the bottom of the first.
Shin-Soo Choo lined a single to right leading off the bottom of the first, and Miller later walked Votto before getting out of the inning with two strikeouts. That was the first of eight consecutive batters he retired, seven on strikeouts, before walking Votto to lead off the fourth.
NOTES: The Cardinals reached double figures in back-to-back games for the first time since May 1-2, 2012. ... Sixteen couples were married and five more renewed their vows in a pregame "I Do's On The Diamond" promotion. Each couple stood at a personalized home plate during the ceremony. ... Descalso started at shortstop for the Cardinals in place of Pete Kozma, in part because manager Mike Matheny wants to keep Descalso sharp but also because he went into the game hitting .360 (9-for-25) in his career against Arroyo. Kozma was 1-for-7 (.143). ... The Reds' 2.71 team ERA for July was its best in a calendar month since May 1990 (2.56). ... Choo started in center field and led off for the first time since last Saturday in Los Angeles. He hadd been bothered by a sprained left ankle. ... Beltran doubled in each of the first two innings after going into the game with two doubles in 32 career at-bats against Arroyo.