ST. LOUIS -- As a hitter, Jon Jay has been pretty hot lately.
As far as getting hit, no one in the majors does it better than the St. Louis Cardinals center fielder.
Jay was plunked for a major league-high 15th time with the bases loaded and none out in the bottom of the ninth inning Tuesday night, forcing pinch-runner Peter Bourjos home with the tie-breaking run as the Cardinals rallied past the sliding Cincinnati Reds 5-4 at Busch Stadium.
Jay, whose second-inning single extended his hitting streak to a season-high 11 games, took a 93-mile per hour fastball from J.J. Hoover (1-10) on the leg for the first game-winning RBI of his five-year major league career.
"It's not like I'm going up there looking to get hit by a pitch," Jay said. "But any way you can win a game, you'll take it."
Left fielder Matt Holliday led off the inning with a walk against reliever J.J. Hoover (1-10), and first baseman Matt Adams lined a first-pitch single to right, sending Holliday to third. Shortstop Jhonny Peralta walked on a 3-2 pitch to fill the bases.
After Bourjos was inserted for Holliday, Jay wore Hoover's first pitch, the second time this year St. Louis has had a walk-off hit batter. Infielder Greg Garcia was nailed by a Justin Grimm fastball May 13 in the 12th inning to force home the game-winning run against the Chicago Cubs.
It was the sixth win in seven games for the Cardinals (68-57), who climbed to 11 games north of .500 for the first time this year. They stayed 2 1/2 games back of first-place Milwaukee in the National League Central and upped their lead for the NL's first wild-card spot to 2 1/2 games over San Francisco.
"Terrific job by our guys of fighting back," St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said. "Guys are coming through with big at-bats at big times."
Trailing 4-1 after Reds left fielder Ryan Ludwick cashed in two errors and a walk with a two-run double in the sixth off St. Louis starter John Lackey, the Cardinals went to work. They chased starter Alfredo Simon after Peralta's 17th homer with one out in their half of the sixth and a single by Jay, then went to work on the shaky Cincinnati bullpen.
Pinch-hitter Shane Robinson rifled a two-out RBI single off Sam LeCure to chop the lead to 4-3. In the eighth, pinch-hitter A.J. Pierzynski delivered a two-out single to move Jay to third. Another pinch-hitter, Daniel Descalso, doubled down the left-field line off Jumbo Diaz for the equalizer.
It was the second straight night that Descalso bagged a game-tying pinch-double.
"I've been in bigger spots before," he said. "You're just trying to go up there and have a good at-bat."
While the Reds' bullpen fell to 0-10 with an earned run average of nearly 5.00 since the All-Star break, St. Louis relievers pitched three scoreless innings. Pat Neshek (6-0) worked around a one-out single by shortstop Zack Cozart in the ninth for the win.
Cincinnati (61-65) lost for the ninth time in 11 games and dropped to 18-31 in one-run games. It was its third walk-off loss in four games.
"I've never been around something like that," third baseman Todd Frazier said of the recent stretch of tough losses. "I never want to see it again."
Frazier did his part to prevent it, giving the Reds a 2-1 lead in the fourth with a 424-foot, two-run homer to the grassy hill behind the center field wall. It was his 21st homer of the year.
Simon, who hasn't won since July 9, left after 5 1/3 innings and 109 pitches, allowing eight hits and three runs with a walk and two strikeouts.
"Short starts have bit us on the tail this road trip," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "It blows up the bullpen."
Lackey departed after six innings, allowing four hits and four runs, two of them earned. He issued a walk and whiffed seven.
St. Louis scored the game's first run in the bottom of the third when Holliday lined a two-out RBI single to center. It drove in Lackey, whose one-out single was his first hit since being traded from Boston on July 31 and only the fifth hit in his 13-year major league career.
NOTES: St. Louis placed 2B Mark Ellis (left oblique) on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday and called up INF Greg Garcia from Triple-A Memphis. Garcia was hitting .275 with eight homers and 40 RBIs but was batting a robust .367 in August before earning his second promotion to the big club. ... Cincinnati LHP Aroldis Chapman was unavailable Monday night and walked around the clubhouse after the game with ice strapped to his shoulder. Chapman walked all four batters he faced in Game 1 of Sunday's doubleheader loss at Colorado. ... Cardinals RHP Jason Motte (lower back) made 15 throws Tuesday from 90 feet, the first time he has thrown since going on the disabled list Aug. 2. Motte hasn't decided if he will go on an upcoming road trip that starts Friday in Philadelphia or stay behind to rehab at home.