- Associated Press - Thursday, September 24, 2015

ST. LOUIS (AP) - Even though he gave up six runs in five innings, Cincinnati Reds rookie Brandon Finnegan didn’t think he pitched that poorly.

Matt Carpenter and the St. Louis Cardinals were just that good, Finnegan said

Carpenter hit a pair of two-run homers off Finnegan, and Randal Grichuk had a solo shot with two outs in the second inning that started the barrage Wednesday night as the Cardinals rolled to a 10-2 victory over the Reds.

“They’re a really good hitting team and they showed it,” said Finnegan, who allowed seven hits, walked one and struck out seven. “I made good pitches and they made good swings. That is a great team and there’s a reason they’re first in the division.”

Cincinnati fell into last place in the NL Central, a half-game behind Milwaukee.

Reds manager Bryan Price said the left-handed Finnegan’s mistakes were leaving pitches low and inside to the left-handed-hitting Carpenter.

“It was one of those days they were able to get to the power to create their runs,” Price said. “It wasn’t going out there throwing five innings and giving up 11 hits. It was a matter of having guys on and Carpenter being able to get to those pitches he can leverage. He didn’t miss them.”

Finnegan (1-1), acquired from Kansas City in the Johnny Cueto trade, won his first start at Milwaukee last week by giving up one run in five innings.

“I’m not disappointed in what I’ve seen from Brandon regardless of what happened today,” Price said. “He’s got good stuff.”

The Reds trailed 9-0 before Joey Votto homered in the seventh on the first pitch from reliever Tyler Lyons. Votto also singled while extending his streak of reaching base safely to 40 games. Ivan DeJesus Jr. tripled in Skip Schumaker for the Reds’ other run in the ninth.

St. Louis starter Lance Lynn (12-10) limited Cincinnati to three singles in six innings and allowed only one runner to reach second base. The Reds trailed 9-0 after six innings.

“It was a beating,” Price said. “We were never really in it. We got down so far early, it was a daunting task to get back into it. It wasn’t a well-played game.”

The Cardinals improved to a major league-best 96-56 with their fourth straight win and maintained their four-game lead over Pittsburgh in the NL Central.

Peter Bourjos’ homer off Jumbo Diaz in the seventh gave St. Louis its first four-homer game of the season.

St. Louis catcher Travis Tartamella singled in his first major league at-bat in the eighth.

WAINWRIGHT GETS CLOSER

Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright moved a step closer to returning when he faced hitters for the first time since having left Achilles surgery April 30. The operation was expected to end his season, but Wainwright now hopes to pitch out of the bullpen next week. After throwing 25 pitches in simulated-game conditions to Cardinals hitters, Wainwright said he felt strong but lacked sharpness. “I like being out there again,” he said. “I wanted to be better than that. The second time, it’s got to improve.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Reds: RHP Rafael Iglesias, removed from the rotation last week because of shoulder fatigue, has not been shut down for the season. Price said Iglesias’ shoulder is stronger and he could pitch before the season ends.

Cardinals: Holliday (quad), Grichuk (elbow) and 1B Matt Adams (quad) have all returned to the lineup after stints on the disabled list, but none of them have been cleared to start on consecutive days. That could change soon, manager Mike Matheny said.

UP NEXT

Reds: Josh Smith (0-2, 7.71 ERA) will oppose fellow rookie Steven Matz in the opener of a four-game home series against the NL East-leading New York Mets. Matz won his major league debut against Smith and the Reds 7-2 in June.

Cardinals: Michael Wacha (16-6, 3.08) will make his first start this season against Milwaukee in the opener of St. Louis’ final home series. Wacha has given up 12 earned runs in 15 innings over his past three starts.

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