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Feldman dazzles as Reds cap sweep of Cards

MLB.com

CINCINNATI -- For the second time in 2017, Reds starting pitcher Scott Feldman made disposing of the Cardinals look pretty easy. The struggling St. Louis lineup was blanked by Feldman for seven innings as Cincinnati rolled to a 5-2 victory on Thursday at Great American Ball Park to complete a four-game series sweep. Joey Votto led the way at the plate with a 4-for-4 game that included a two-run home run.

Feldman allowed four hits -- all singles -- with no walks and four strikeouts as he pitched seven innings for the first time in five starts since May 12. Over his two outings against the Cardinals this year, the right-hander has worked 13 scoreless innings with eight hits, one walk and 10 strikeouts.

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CINCINNATI -- For the second time in 2017, Reds starting pitcher Scott Feldman made disposing of the Cardinals look pretty easy. The struggling St. Louis lineup was blanked by Feldman for seven innings as Cincinnati rolled to a 5-2 victory on Thursday at Great American Ball Park to complete a four-game series sweep. Joey Votto led the way at the plate with a 4-for-4 game that included a two-run home run.

Feldman allowed four hits -- all singles -- with no walks and four strikeouts as he pitched seven innings for the first time in five starts since May 12. Over his two outings against the Cardinals this year, the right-hander has worked 13 scoreless innings with eight hits, one walk and 10 strikeouts.

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Video: STL@CIN: Feldman whiffs Piscotty in the 1st

"Usually the name of the game always comes down to command," said Feldman, who had just two balls hit into the outfield over his first four innings. "It was better today than it had the previous two times, and hopefully just keep it going in that direction."

Cardinals starter Mike Leake was done after five innings with three runs (two earned), 10 hits, two walks and five strikeouts. Votto and Adam Duvall went a combined 6-for-6 against Leake, who gave up three runs in the fifth. Following Votto's one-out single, Duvall drove him in with an RBI double to the wall in left-center field. Scott Schebler was hit by a pitch and Scooter Gennett added an RBI single lined to right field. When Gennett stole second base, catcher Yadier Molina's errant throw into center field scored Schebler for a 3-0 Reds lead.

Video: STL@CIN: Duvall opens the scoring with a double

"I thought I had some pretty decent stuff," said Leake, who's now dropped his last three starts. "They were putting the ball in play, not getting deep in the count, finding some holes here and there. But not being able to make the pitch when I needed to was big today."

Votto's two-run homer against Tyler Lyons in the sixth inning doomed the Cardinals to an 0-7 road trip and their first four-game sweep at the hands of the Reds since 2003. Cincinnati outscored St. Louis, 28-9, during the series, the most runs they've scored vs. the Cardinals in a four-game series since plating 30 from July 24-27, 1970. The Cardinals' seven-game losing streak is their longest since 2013.

Video: STL@CIN: Iglesias fans Molina for the save

"In the long run, we're going to snap out of this," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said of his team's current funk. "It's just hard finding what that key is, and we each, individually, have to put our head down and ignore any of the distractions that are getting us from where we need to be."

The Cardinals got on the scoreboard in the eighth inning when Matt Carpenter hit a two-run homer to left field against reliever Austin Brice. Raisel Iglesias pitched the ninth for his 12th save in 12 attempts, and extended his scoreless streak to 19 appearances and 20 consecutive innings as the Reds completed a 5-2 homestand.

Video: STL@CIN: Carpenter goes the other way for a two-run HR

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Votto puts game away: In the sixth inning after Zack Cozart hit a single to reach safely in his 30th straight game, Votto connected on Lyons' first pitch for his 16th homer of the season, a two-run shot into the right-center-field seats. According to Statcast™, Votto's homer had a 102-mph exit velocity and traveled 403 feet.

Video: STL@CIN: Votto cranks two-run dinger in the 6th

Key DP: The final score obscured the fact that the game was once pretty tight, with a scoreless tie heading into the fifth. In the bottom of the fourth after having the bases loaded with no outs vs. Leake, the Reds were lucky not to have been burned from a missed chance. After Feldman struck out, Billy Hamilton grounded a ball right to Carpenter, who only needed a half-step to touch first base before firing home to Molina, who tagged out a sliding Gennett for a big inning-ending double play.

"I just knew with a guy like that, there's very little chance of us turning a double play," Carpenter said of Hamilton. "It would have to be something unconventional like that. If I would have thrown to second, he would have beat it out. So I knew I had to get him first and then try to get the second out at home, and it worked out."

Video: STL@CIN: Cardinals turn two, escape big jam

QUOTABLE
"It's really early in the season. We've had good stretches so far. This is another example of that."
-- Votto, after the Reds completed a 5-2 homestand to improve their record to 29-30.

THREE QUALITY STARTS FOR REDS
Feldman's performance gave the Reds three quality starts in the four-game series, with Bronson Arroyo not providing one on Wednesday but pitching 5 2/3 innings with four runs. The rotation, ranked last in the Majors in ERA and innings pitched, has been desperate for stronger outings.

"As good as we are offensively, we can't win every game where we give up six [runs]," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "That's just, you can't win a slugfest often enough to be above .500 and keep yourself kind of in contention when you're chasing your goals. So the quality start -- a guy's pitching into the sixth or beyond the sixth and limiting damage and limiting the big inning -- is definitely a benefit to our ballclub so we're not chasing them from behind a lot. So that's probably been the key to this homestand."

Feldman has six quality starts in 13 outings this season.

"I think that the way we're capable of scoring runs, if we can keep the team in the game like we did this series, good things are happening," Feldman said.

WHAT'S NEXT
Cardinals: The Cardinals return home on Friday to open a seven-game homestand with a 7:15 p.m. CT game against the Phillies. Michael Wacha, who will start against Jeremy Hellickson, will be looking for a bounceback outing. He's allowed 15 earned runs over 11 1/3 innings in his last three starts.

Reds: Amir Garrett will take the hill as the Reds head to the West Coast to begin a weekend series in Los Angeles vs. the Dodgers on Friday at 10:10 p.m. ET. Garrett will be looking to rebound from a rough return from the DL on Sunday vs. the Braves, when he allowed nine runs (eight earned) in 2 2/3 innings.

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Follow her on Twitter, and Facebook.