ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Joe Kelly tossed six strong innings and Matt Holliday drove in a run for a seventh straight game, lifting the St. Louis Cardinals to a 6-1 win over the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday night.
St. Louis has won six of its last seven, including the first two games of this three-game set. The first-place Cardinals have won eight of their last 10 against the third-place Reds and lead them by 4 1/2 games in the NL Central.
The Cards also moved 1 1/2 games ahead of second-place Pittsburgh, which lost to Milwaukee.
Shin-soo Choo homered for Cincinnati, which lost for the fourth time in five games. The Cardinals retired the last 13 Cincinnati batters, dropping the Reds to 4-10 against St. Louis this season.
Kelly (6-3), who allowed one run on nine hits, improved to 6-0 in nine starts since rejoining the starting rotation on July 6. The Cardinals have won the last six games he has started. Kelly began the season in the bullpen.
Holliday, who went 2 for 3, keyed a two-run outburst in the first against Mat Latos (13-5), who gave up four runs on nine hits over six innings. He struck out four and did not walk a batter.
Arizona slugger Paul Goldschmidt had an eight-game RBI streak in early June - a season best in MLB.
The Cardinals needed just 14 pitches to take a 2-0 lead. Matt Carpenter and Carlos Beltran began the opening frame with singles. Holliday followed with a hit to right to bring in Carpenter, who scored his major league-leading 100th run. Allen Craig then hit into a double play, allowing Beltran to score from third.
Choo brought the Reds to 2-1 with a leadoff homer in the fifth, the 100th round-tripper of his career and 17th of the season.
The Cardinals answered with single runs in the sixth and seventh and scored twice in the eighth.
Craig pushed the lead to 3-1 with his team-leading 96th RBI on a run-scoring double in the sixth. Carpenter brought in Jon Jay with a sacrifice fly in the seventh. Jay and Daniel Descalso singled to start the inning.
Notes: Adam Wainwright (15-7, 2.58 ERA) faces Homer Bailey (8-10, 3.71) in the final of the three-game series Wednesday. Bailey is 0-5 with a 6.90 ERA in seven career starts at Busch Stadium. ... St. Louis INF Pete Kozma is mired in a 0-for-23 slump. ... The Cardinals are 34-22 against NL Central opponents this season with 22 divisional games remaining. ... The Reds have spent the past 127 days in second, third or fourth place.
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Allen Craig hit his first career grand slam with two out in the seventh inning, helping the St. Louis Cardinals rally for an 8-6 win over the Cincinnati Reds on Monday night.
Matt Holliday also had a long three-run homer as St. Louis moved into sole possession of first place in the NL Central for the first time since July 29. The Cardinals lead idle Pittsburgh by a half-game and Cincinnati by 3 1/2 games in the top-heavy division.
Rookie Carlos Martinez (1-1) pitched two innings for his first major league win and Edward Mujica worked a perfect ninth for his 35th save.
Zack Cozart had two hits and three RBIs for the Reds, who dropped to 4-9 against St. Louis this season. Jay Bruce hit his 25th homer in the eighth.
Cozart and Todd Frazier each hit a two-run triple off Tyler Lyons in the second, helping Cincinnati to a 4-0 lead. But Holliday belted a three-run drive deep to left in the third.
Holliday's 18th homer came against Mike Leake and traveled an estimated 443 feet for the longest shot by a St. Louis player at Busch Stadium this season.
The Cardinals went ahead to stay in the seventh. Jon Jay drove in a run with a bases-loaded grounder off Manny Parra (1-3). J.J. Hoover then came in and walked Holliday on a full-count pitch and Craig drove the next pitch over the wall in right for his 13th homer.
The crowd of 35,159 roared as Craig rounded the bases. The big first baseman then came out for a curtain call.
Bruce connected against Seth Maness, but that was it for Cincinnati, which lost for the third time in four games.
Lyons settled down after the rough start and was charged with one earned run in five innings. He struck out seven and walked two.
Leake allowed five runs and seven hits in 6 1-3 innings. The right-hander is 1-1 with an unseemly 5.20 ERA in his last six starts.
NOTES: Joe Kelly (5-3, 3.01 ERA) will face Cincinnati's Mat Latos (13-4, 2.93 ERA) in the second game of the three-game series on Tuesday. Latos is 5-1 with a 1.47 ERA in seven starts since the All-Star break. ... The Cardinals are 24-3-2 in home series against Cincinnati since the start of the 2003 season.
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- After a rough beginning, Lance Lynn settled down and kept the Cardinals in the game. They just couldn't come up with enough offense to beat the Braves.
The struggling St. Louis right-hander overcame a slow start and allowed just one run in his final five innings in the Cardinals' 5-2 loss to Atlanta on Sunday.
Lynn, who is winless in his last four starts and 2-4 since the All-Star break, surrendered four runs on nine hits over seven innings in falling to 13-8.
"They got after me pretty good early in the game, but I was able to turn it around and go deep in the game," Lynn said. "I think I threw the ball well for the most part."
Lynn had been burned by one bad inning in each of his previous three starts. He gave up five runs in the fourth against Milwaukee, four in the second against Pittsburgh and three in the seventh against the Cubs.
He avoided the blow-up frame on Sunday and feels he is headed in the right direction.
"Hopefully for me, this was a building (block) going down the stretch," he said. "I've got some starts coming up where I've got to be really good.
And I plan on being really good."
Lynn faced just three batters in the third, fourth, fifth and sixth innings against the Braves.
"He needed to slow down a bit," St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said. "But once he established that, they seemed to have different at-bats against him."
Atlanta right-hander Mike Minor went seven strong innings to pick up his team-leading 13th win.
Still, Minor refuses to accept the role of stopper on his pitching-rich squad.
"I don't look at myself as the ace of this team," he said.
Atlanta, which has the best record in the NL, salvaged the final game of the four-game set. Andrelton Simmons hit his 12th homer of the season for Braves, who finish a six-game road trip at 2-4.
St. Louis had a four-game winning streak snapped.
Minor may not claim to be the team ace - but he certainly performed like one on Sunday, halting a three-game losing streak.
He bounced back from the shortest outing of his career to give up one run on six hits. He struck out two and walked one. He was pitching on seven days rest after allowing four runs in 1 2-3 innings against Washington on Aug. 17.
"I felt like I was pounding the zone, hitting more spots," Minor said.
Minor did not allow a run until the sixth. He retired the side in order twice in the first five frames.
"He's developing into a big-time deal," Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez. "The Wainwrights of the world, the Kershaws of the world, they stop losing streaks and extend winning streaks.
He's becoming one of those guys."
Minor also beat the Cardinals 4-1 on July 26, starting the Braves on a 14-game winning streak.
"He was sharp today, he didn't give us a lot of mistakes to handle," Matheny said. "And he got out of any kind of jams that he got himself into."
Minor, who also legged out an infield hit in the seventh, recorded his team-high 19th quality start.
The win gave Minor a team-leading 13th win of the season ahead of Kris Medlen and Julio Teheran, who have 10 wins each.
Simmons paced the attack with a solo shot in the seventh that gave the Braves a 4-1 lead.
Closer Craig Kimbrel came on with two out in the eighth and picked up his 41st save in 44 opportunities. It was his first four-out save of the season. a trend that may continue in October.
"We may have to do that come post-season," Gonzalez said. "It was perfect timing. He hasn't pitched in three days, with a day off tomorrow, it made a lot of sense to push him and he came through."
Kimbrel enjoyed the extra work. He also liked sitting the dugout for a change between the eighth and ninth innings.
"I found myself talking and joking around," he said. "Then I said, "Wait I've got three more outs to get. But I was able to get back out there and get in the zone."
Notes: Minor is 6-5 in 17 starts with over six days rest. ... The Cardinals will play their next 13 games NL Central rivals Cincinnati and Pittsburgh. ... Atlanta opens a nine-game homestand on Tuesday with a three-game series against Cleveland. LHP Alex Wood (2-2, 2.50) will face Danny Salazar (1-1, 3.52) in the opener. St. Louis plays host to Cincinnati on Monday in the start of a three-game series. Tyler Lyons (2-4, 5.09) takes on Mike Leake (11-5, 3.12). ... Atlanta is 7-7 since ending a 14-game winning streak on Aug. 10.
DENVER (AP) -- Rookie linebacker Alec Ogletree ruined Ronnie Hillman's night with a strip-and-score takeaway and kept Peyton Manning from turning all those passes into points with a big interception. Yet the St. Louis Rams' lost 27-26 at Denver on Saturday night.
Ogletree ripped the football from Hillman's arms, scooped it up and trotted 13 yards for the score one week after Hillman's fumble at the goal line was returned 106 yards for a touchdown in Seattle.
Manning completed 25 of 34 passes for 234 yards in one half, but Ogletree's pickoff just before halftime set up Greg Zuerlein's 58-yarder field goal that gave the Rams a 20-10 lead at the break.
Ogletree also had a half-dozen tackles and two pass breakups in his breakout preseason performance.
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Rookie Shelby Miller worked seven innings of three-hit ball, Matt Carpenter and Carlos Beltran each homered and the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Atlanta Braves for the third straight time, 6-2 Saturday night.
Freddie Freeman homered for the NL East-leading Braves, who totaled five runs while dropping three in a row for the first time since July 3-5. Julio Teheran (10-7) allowed a season-worst five walks and was charged with four runs.
Miller (12-8) worked more than six innings for the first time in 13 starts since June 1. He struck out six without walking a batter while pitching with no more than a one-run cushion against a fellow 22-year-old right-hander. Center fielder Jon Jay made a leaping catch at the wall to rob Brian McCann of at least extra bases in the seventh.
The Cardinals, who began the night a game back in the NL Central, go for a four-game sweep Sunday with Lance Lynn (13-7) opposing Mike Minor (12-5).
St. Louis totaled three runs while getting swept in a three-game series in Atlanta in late July.
Pinch-hitter Shane Robinson and Carpenter opened a three-run seventh with singles to chase Teheran and the Cardinals broke it open against reliever Dave Carpenter with a two-run double by Matt Holliday and an RBI single by Yadier Molina for a 5-1 lead.
The Braves had three of their seven hits in the ninth, including pinch-hitter Gerald Laird's RBI double off Seth Maness before Edward Mujica struck out Elliott Johnson with two on for his 34th save in 36 chances.
The first three hits of the game were home runs. Miller struck out the first two batters on seven pitches and the Braves' first contact came when Freeman hammered a 1-2 pitch for his 16th homer.
Carpenter answered with his second career leadoff homer and 10th overall, also on a 1-2 count, in the bottom of the first. Beltran's team-leading 23rd put the Cardinals ahead 2-1 in the third and he finished with three hits, two RBIs and his second base-running gaffe of the series.
Beltran settled for a single in the fifth after standing at the plate for several seconds and belatedly jogging to first on a liner down the third base line that caromed off the jut in the stands in shallow left. Two days earlier he missed third base and had to double back before scoring.
NOTES: Miller walked nine in 16 1-3 innings his first four starts this month, one of them lasting just two pitches when he took a liner off the elbow. Missouri DE Kony Ealy threw a ceremonial first pitch. ... The Cardinals have hit 21 homers in August after totaling nine in July, although Carpenter's 10th overall was his first since July 10 against Houston. ... The Braves are 8-31 when scoring two or fewer runs.
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Adam Wainwright earned his NL-leading 15th win with his fifth complete game and had a key sacrifice fly to lead the St. Louis Cardinals to a 3-1 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Friday night.
Matt Holliday's 432-foot home run off Kris Medlen (10-12) snapped a sixth-inning tie for St. Louis, which took the first two games of a four-game set against the NL East leaders.
Having already thrown 101 pitches, Wainwright was allowed to bat with the one out and the bases loaded in the seventh inning and hit a long sacrifice fly off Scott Downs for his third RBI of the season to make it 3-1. He then retired the side in order in the eighth.
Medlen singled to lead off the sixth and scored on Freddie Freeman's second hit of the game and retired 12 in a row at one point. But he allowed Holliday's 17th homer on a liner deep into the left field stands. He's lost his last two times out, including a relief appearance in a 15-inning game.
The Cardinals lost three in a row at Atlanta to start a seven-game losing streak in late July that knocked them out of the Central lead and entered the night a game behind Pittsburgh. Wainwright (15-7) took one of the losses in that series, but the Brunswick, Ga., native is 7-2 against the Braves.
Wainwright allowed a run on six hits with no walks and nine strikeouts, passing injured teammate Chris Carpenter for fourth on the franchise career list, and he has 16 career complete games. He's worked seven or more innings seven straight starts and retired 10 in a row at one point.
He even got an assist from his manager. Mike Matheny, a former four-time Gold Glove catcher, took the warmup tosses from Wainwright before the ninth.
Yadier Molina had three hits with a pair of doubles to raise his NL-leading average to .337, five points ahead of the Braves' Chris Johnson, who had a pair of singles.
Molina doubled and Jon Jay singled to open the seventh and chase Medlen. Downs got a brief reprieve earlier in the inning when a wild pitch ricocheted back to catcher Brian McCann.
The Braves' Justin Upton was ejected in the sixth for arguing with home plate umpire Paul Nauert after a groundout, perhaps about a called third strike the previous at-bat.
NOTES: Braves SS Andrelton Simmons made an outstanding sliding catch on Kolten Wong's foul popup in the second. ... B.J. Upton snapped an 0-for-25 slump with a single in the second. ... Wainwright tied his career best for complete games in a season, also throwing five in 2010. He threw a season-high 128 pitches.
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Joe Kelly pitched six effective innings, Matt Holliday broke out of a slump with two doubles and the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Atlanta Braves 6-2 on Thursday night.
David Freese drove in two runs as St. Louis won for the fifth time in six games.
The NL East-leading Braves played without Jason Heyward, who is out with a broken right jaw after he was beaned during Wednesday's 4-1 win at the New York Mets. The outfielder had surgery on Thursday in Atlanta and could miss the rest of the regular season.
Justin Upton hit his 24th homer, but the Braves lost for the second time in three games at the start of a six-game trip. Atlanta had won eight of its last nine regular-season games against St. Louis.
Kelly (5-3) allowed two runs and seven hits while improving to 5-0 with a 1.79 ERA in his last seven starts. St. Louis improved to 7-1 in Kelly's eight starts since he rejoined the rotation on July 6.
Holliday went 2 for 3 and drove in a run, matching the amount of hits he had during a 2-for-24 slide over his previous six games. He doubled and scored in the fourth, then capped St. Louis' three-run fourth with an RBI double that made it 4-2.
Freese had a run-scoring groundout in the fourth and an RBI single in the seventh.
Paul Maholm (9-10) came off the disabled list and allowed five runs, four earned, and five hits in 5 1-3 innings for Atlanta. It was the first game for the left-hander since he left a July 20 start at the Chicago White Sox with a bruised left wrist.
Maholm helped himself with a leadoff single in the fifth. Upton then hit a one-out drive to center for his eighth homer this month, giving Atlanta a 2-1 lead.
St. Louis went back in front in the bottom half on consecutive run-scoring doubles by Matt Carpenter, Carlos Beltran and Holliday. Pete Kozma sparked the big inning with a one-out walk.
NOTES: The Cardinals began a string of 17 consecutive games against opponents with winning records. ... St. Louis RHP Jake Westbrook is questionable for his next start Monday with back stiffness. ... INF Elliot Johnson made his first start for the Braves and broke out of an 0-for-31 slump with a second-inning single. He was claimed off waivers from Kansas City on Wednesday. ... Atlanta's Kris Medlen (10-11, 3.71 ERA) will face Adam Wainwright (14-7, 2.66 ERA) in the second game of the four-game set on Friday. ... Holliday grounded into his major league-leading 28th double play in the seventh.
MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Carlos Beltran and Allen Craig hit towering home runs in St. Louis' six-run second inning, and the Cardinals held off the Milwaukee Brewers 8-6 on Wednesday.
Matt Holliday also homered and Shane Robinson had three hits for the Cardinals, who are slightly behind the Pittsburgh Pirates in the tight NL Central race.
After taking a one-run lead in the first inning on a double by Craig, the Cardinals went ahead 7-0 in the second off Brewers starter Tom Gorzelanny (3-5). Starting pitcher Jake Westbrook hit a bases-loaded double into the left-center field gap that scored two runs. He entered the game hitting only .167 with two RBIs this season.
Following Matt Carpenter's sacrifice fly, Beltran launched a two-run shot that caromed off the center-field scoreboard. With two out, Craig hit a solo homer to right-center.
The Brewers cut into the lead in the third on a three-run homer by Aramis Ramirez, and then added two runs in the fifth.
Juan Francisco broke out of an 0-for-15 slump, during which he struck out 10 times, with a run-scoring single. Sean Halton drove in another run with a hit, cutting the deficit to 7-5 and chasing Westbrook.
Kevin Siegrist struck out pinch-hitter Jeff Bianchi with the bases loaded to end the inning. Siegrist (2-1) recorded two outs to notch the victory. Four Cardinals relievers held the Brewers to one run over the final 5 1-3 innings to preserve the win.
Holliday's solo home run in the ninth extended the lead to 8-5.
Edward Mujica earned his 33rd save in 35 attempts despite giving up a long solo home run to Logan Schafer with one out in the ninth.
Westbrook gave up four earned runs and nine hits in 4 2-3 innings. He walked one and struck out one during a 75-pitch outing. In his previous start on Aug. 16, when he threw a career-high 124 pitches, Westbrook gave up six earned runs in 6 2-3 innings.
Gorzelanny surrendered seven runs and 10 hits in 3 2-3 innings. He walked one and struck out five.
Khris Davis had a career-best three hits for Milwaukee.
NOTES: Milwaukee reliever Rob Wooten was placed on the paternity list. Wooten didn't make it back to North Carolina in time for the birth of his daughter. "He walked into the room and (his wife) was holding the baby," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "But everyone is fine." ... Pitcher Donovan Hand was recalled from Triple-A Nashville to replace Wooten. ... OF Norichika Aoki was held out of the lineup due to right knee soreness. "It has been bugging him for a while. We aren't worried too much," Roenicke said. ... The Cardinals concluded a 12-game stretch against NL Central clubs. . St. Louis returns home to face the Atlanta Braves on Thursday. Milwaukee returns to action Friday at Cincinnati.