Cardinals rout Reds 15-2

St. Louis sets a season-high for runs

CINCINNATI - If Matt Carpenter regains his All-Star form, he can thank Carlos Beltran.

Carpenter, St. Louis' second baseman, went into Sunday's series finale at Cincinnati mired in an 0-for-20 slump and was 0-for-3 before Beltran took him inside the visitors' clubhouse for a video tutorial.

The Cardinals right fielder might have a future as a hitting coach. Carpenter responded with a two-run double that just missed being a grand slam and added a walk and single as the Cardinals continued their power resurgence with a 15-2 romp over the Cincinnati Reds.

"Carlos said something," Carpenter said. "He showed me some (at bats) from a couple of weeks ago. He thought I could get more out of my legs. I thought about that when I went to the plate. He wasn't playing, and he's always watching. He saw something and told me what he saw. Ever since he told me that, I got two hits and a walk, so it was pretty good advice."

Matt Adams hit a two-run homer, Tony Cruz contributed his first home run of the season and David Freese added three hits, including a solo homer, to help the Cardinals set a season high for runs while winning their second game of the three-game series.

"Offensively, we did a terrific job," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "We had a little bit of everything - some power, some good situational hitting, made the (defensive) plays."

The victory gave the Cardinals six consecutive series wins over their National League Central rival dating to a three-game sweep by the Reds to open the second half of the 2012 season.

The Cardinals (65-45) improved to 8-4 against the Reds (61-51) this season while finishing 3-8 on their 11-game, 10-day road trip.

"This was disheartening," Reds relief pitcher Sam LeCure said. "It just sucked. Losing is one thing, but going out there and getting embarrassed in front of your fans who are showing up to support you is another - and we did just that."

St. Louis already has hit six home runs in August after collecting a major-league low nine in July. The Cardinals also have scored 13 or more runs in three of their first four games this month.

Lance Lynn allowed two runs while matching his career high with eight innings of work and improving to 3-0 in four starts against the Reds this season. Lynn (13-5) allowed four hits and two walks and had a season-high 11 strikeouts.

"I had pretty good command of all four pitches, and I was able to use all of them on both sides of the plate," Lynn said. "That makes it a lot easier to pitch. Between my last three starts, I've had the best stuff I've had all year."

The Cardinals, who scored four runs in the first inning of Friday's 13-3 win in the series opener, scored four with two outs in the opening inning on Sunday. Allen Craig's single was followed by back-to-back doubles from Matt Holliday and Freese before Adams' 362-foot homer into the right field seats on a 1-1 pitch from Mike Leake.

The homer was the eighth of the season and first since July 6 for Adams, who started at first base while Craig moved to right field to give Carlos Beltran a day off.

Cincinnati shortstop Zack Cozart cut the lead in half in the second with his ninth homer of the season, a 425-foot, two-run, two-out shot into the second deck in left field on a 2-0 pitch from Lynn.

The Cardinals knocked Leake out of the game with a five-run fifth capped by Carpenter's bases-loaded double that bounced off the top of the fence in front of the visitors' bullpen down the right field line. It missed being a grand slam by inches but gave him his first hit since July 29.

"At that point, I was so relieved to just put the barrel of the bat on the ball that I didn't care what happened," Carpenter said. "That was a great team win. The bats took off. It was fun to be a part of it."

Leake (10-5), who had won his last three decisions, set a season high and tied his career high by allowing seven runs. He gave up eight hits and two walks with three strikeouts.

Freese led off the seventh against Pedro Villareal with his sixth home run of the season and first since June 25. Craig added an RBI single in the eighth.

Cruz smacked a 368-foot homer into the left field seats in the ninth to spark a four-run inning.

"That's one of the worst defeats I can remember," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "We just had another worst two days ago, and this one was worse than that. We certainly have to get our act together."

NOTES: Reds 1B Joey Votto singled in the seventh inning to extended his hitting streak against the Cardinals to 12 games (16-for-39, .410). ... Reds 3B Todd Frazier went 0-for-3 and now is hitless in his last 28 at-bats spanning nine games. ... The Cardinals return to St. Louis to open a 10-game homestand with four against Los Angeles starting Monday night. Sunday's game was their 14th in a grueling stretch of 21 games in 20 days. ... The Reds are off Monday before opening a two-game interleague series against Oakland. The Athletics swept a two-game series against the Reds in Oakland.

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