CINCINNATI (AP) – Joey Votto had one of those frequent days when he hits everything hard the last thing the St. Louis Cardinals needed at this point.
Votto had a two-run homer among his four hits, Adam Duvall had three hits off Mike Leake his counterpart in one of Cincinnati’s rebuilding trades and the Reds beat the Cardinals 5-2 on Thursday to complete a four-game sweep.
“Joey Votto is something else,” Reds starter Scott Feldman said. “I get a big kick out of watching his approach at the plate. You have to see him every day to appreciate how good he is. When he’s hot, there’s nobody better.”
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The Reds hadn’t swept the Cardinals in four games since 2003 in Cincinnati, during the first season at Great American Ball Park. St. Louis has lost seven in a row overall for the first time since 2013.
“We’ve got a lot of guys who have been through runs like this,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. “This is baseball. It’s heavy right now, there’s no doubt about it. In the long run, we’re going to snap out of this. It’s just hard finding what that key is.”
Feldman (5-4) limited the Cardinals’ slumping lineup to four singles in seven shutout innings. Matt Carpenter hit a two-run homer in the eighth off Austin Brice. Raisel Iglesias got his 12th save.
The Reds traded Leake (5-5) to the Giants for Duvall in 2015, and the right-hander signed with the Cardinals after that season. Leake has yet to beat his former team, going 0-4 in seven starts with a 4.79 ERA. The Cardinals have lost all seven games.
Leake figures that the Reds’ familiarity with him Votto is one of their holdovers from 2015 helps them.
“I’m sure he’s a voice in their meetings, might speak up to kind of help other guys,” Leake said. “But I feel I’ve done a pretty decent job with Joey up to this point. Today he went 3 for 3, but he hasn’t really killed me.”
Duvall had an RBI double in the fifth, Scooter Gennett followed with an RBI single and Yadier Molina’s throwing error let in another run. Votto connected off left-hander Tyler Lyons for his 16th homer an inning later, giving the Reds all the room they needed to finish the sweep.
“Obviously, it’s phenomenal,” manager Bryan Price said. “That was an all-around great ballgame and a great series.”
The series highlight was Gennett becoming the 17th major leaguer to homer four times in a game during the Reds’ 13-1 win on Tuesday night. In his next two games, he went 3 for 8 with three singles and an RBI.
Leake escaped harm in the fourth when the Reds loaded the bases with no outs. Feldman struck out, and Billy Hamilton hit into an unusual double play: Carpenter fielded his grounder, stepped on first, and threw to Molina, who tagged Gennett at the plate.
The Reds have won 11 of their last 16 games against St. Louis. They outscored the Cardinals 28-9 during the sweep. … Votto’s four hits matched his career high. He’s done it 22 times. … Duvall has hits in six straight plate appearances against Leake. He’s 11 for 22 career off him. … Leake allowed a season-high 10 hits in five innings. … Zack Cozart has reached safely in 30 straight games, the longest on-base streak by a Reds shortstop since Barry Larkin’s 31-game streak in 1991.
Cardinals: Dexter Fowler was back after getting a day out of the starting lineup to rest. He went 0 for 4.
Reds: RHP Anthony DeSclafani is behind schedule in recovering from a strained elbow that has sidelined him since spring training. Manager Bryan Price said Thursday that he’s probably not going to be ready until August. … LHP Brandon Finnegan will make a rehab appearance for Double-A Pensacola on Sunday and could be back by the end of the month. Finnegan has been sidelined since mid-April by a sore left shoulder.
Cardinals: Michael Wacha (2-3) faces the Phillies’ Jeremy Hellickson (5-3) as the Cardinals open a seven-game home stand. Wacha allowed six runs in 4 1/3 innings of a 7-6 loss at Wrigley Field on Sunday.
Reds: LHP Amir Garrett (3-4) makes his second start since returning from a hip injury, facing LHP Rich Hill (2-2) as the Reds open a series in Los Angeles. The Reds have lost their last six games and their last five series at Dodger Stadium.
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