ST. LOUIS -- Shin-Soo Choo cost the Cincinnati Reds three runs Monday with two errors in center field.
However, Choo and his teammates more than got those back in a nine-run, ninth-inning outburst that turned a tie game into a blowout.
Choo started the inning with a walk that led to the go-ahead run, then tacked on a three-run double as the Reds pulled away for a 13-4 win over the St. Louis Cardinals in front of the largest regular-season crowd at Busch Stadium III.
It was a satisfying ending to a rough afternoon for Choo, who dropped two fly balls off Yadier Molina's bat that cost Cincinnati three runs and gave the Cardinals a 4-2 lead going into the seventh inning.
"I was dying, and my teammates gave me another life," Choo said. "Sun balls are part of baseball, but that's no excuse. This is the first time I've played center field in this ballpark, but I just missed them."
Choo, a corner outfielder his entire career, was moved to center field after the Reds acquired him in December as part of a three-team trade. Choo made just two errors in 154 games last year with the Cleveland Indians.
While manager Dusty Baker knows Choo might not be as good defensively as the man he replaced, Drew Stubbs, Baker was willing to cut him some slack for his mistakes.
"It wasn't like he just dropped two easy fly balls," Baker said. "First of all, they were hit 400 feet. Then you factor in the sun. That first one, it was a tough error."
Choo gained redemption with his bat and his batting eye in a top of the ninth that lasted 27 minutes. He took a four-pitch free pass from Mitchell Boggs (0-1) and scored on Brandon Phillips' double that plopped on the right field foul line to make it 5-4.
In his second plate appearance of the inning, Choo slapped a three-run double down the left field line off Marc Rzepczynski for a 12-4 advantage, sending the remnants of a crowd of 47,345 to the exits.
"Everybody came to me and said, 'Everybody makes mistakes.' Whatever happens, you try to stay focused," Choo said.
While Choo and Cincinnati (5-2) enjoyed a stirring come-from-behind win, it was a 180-degree turn for St. Louis (3-4). A day after scoring nine runs in the fourth inning of a 14-3 win at San Francisco, the Cardinals had to eat a nine-spot from their opponent.
Boggs blamed himself after issuing four walks, including a bases-loaded pass to Todd Frazier that made it 6-4. The right-hander, who is filling in as the closer with Jason Motte on the disabled list, allowed seven runs (six earned) while picking up just one out.
"We've got to do a better job pounding the zone," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said.
Sam LeCure (1-0) worked a perfect eighth inning for Cincinnati, which got three hitless innings of work from its bullpen without having to use its main late-inning options, Jonathan Broxton and closer Aroldis Chapman.
Matheny was hoping to get two innings from Boggs.
"We were wanting to take two shots at the win, but it didn't work out," Matheny said.
St. Louis wasted a solid start from Jaime Garcia, who tied a career high with 10 strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings. Garcia left with a 4-3 lead forged largely on Choo's miscues.
In the first, Choo juggled and then dropped Molina's warning-track fly ball, enabling Jon Jay and Matt Holliday to score for a 2-0 St. Louis advantage. Choo then failed to hang on to Molina's liner near the track in the sixth, and Holliday hustled home from first to push the Cardinals' lead to 4-2.
However, the Reds rallied against Garcia and the Cardinals' bullpen. Chris Heisey's second double scored Ryan Hanigan in the seventh to make it 4-3, sending Garcia to the showers. Pinch hitter Xavier Paul evened the score at 4 in the eighth, grounding an RBI single to right off setup man Trevor Rosenthal.
Cincinnati starter Mat Latos, who entered the game with a 9.00 ERA in seven career starts against St. Louis, allowed just four hits and four runs (one earned) over six innings.
Latos wouldn't blame Choo for giving up the other three runs.
"I make two mistakes and (Molina) hit the crap out of them," Latos said. "If I make better pitches, maybe I don't put him in that spot."
NOTES: St. Louis activated third baseman David Freese from the 15-day disabled list and sent utility infielder Ryan Jackson down to Triple-A Memphis of the Pacific Coast League. Freese, who was out since March 23 with a lower back strain, went 4-for-12 over the weekend in three games with Memphis. He started for St. Louis on Monday and went 0-for-3. ... This was the first of six games the teams will play in St. Louis in the season's first 31 days ... Cincinnati won just three of its previous 27 series in St. Louis.