CINCINNATI -- Jedd Gyorko knew he was facing one of the better closers in baseball in hard-throwing Reds righty Raisel Iglesias, and when he fell behind in the count with a chance to give his team the lead, he knew he had to battle.
With two strikes, Gyorko lined a fastball into left field for a go-ahead single in the 10th inning that saved the day for the Cardinals, who squandered a four-run lead but pulled out a 7-6 win in 10 innings Friday over the Reds at Great American Ball Park.
"He threw me a bunch of sliders early," Gyorko said. "Toward the end of the at-bat, he gave me a few good pitches to hit, and I was just fouling them off. He left a fastball up and I was able to put a good swing on it."
The Cardinals, who improved to 8-0 this season vs. the Reds, entered the bottom of the ninth with a 6-4 lead and closer Bud Norris on the mound. After a 36-minute rain delay, Scott Schebler belted a leadoff double to the left-center gap and scored on a one-out single by Joey Votto, who was 2-for-4 with two RBIs. Two batters later, Jesse Winker lined a single through the left side, past a diving Gyorko at third, to tie the game. It was Norris' second blown save of the season.
"That happens sometimes with the closer," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "There are times you get them up when you have the lead, then you sit them back down, then get them up again. It is not that foreign. I know he'd just maybe just like to have a couple of those pitches back."
St. Louis quickly rebounded in the 10th. Marcell Ozuna drew a one-out walk and Yadier Molina followed it with a base hit to right, executing a hit-and-run that put Ozuna at third. Gyorko then delivered the go-ahead run. In the bottom of the frame, John Brebbia stranded two runners to earn his second save.
"We put together good at-bats and got big hits," Matheny said. "Ozuna got us started. Yadi had a great hit-and-run, then Jed came through. That at-bat was huge. He did a great job."
Jose Martinez provided much of the scoring for the Cardinals. He hit a solo shot in the first inning to give St. Louis an early lead. Yairo Munoz added a solo shot off Reds starter Matt Harvey in the second.
After the Reds got a run back off Cards starter Luke Weaver, Martinez launched another homer, a towering three-run shot to center to give St. Louis a 5-1 advantage.
"He is special when he is right and feels good," Matheny said. "You can tell right now he's in a good place, so we just need to keep him there as long as we can."
The Reds slowly clawed their way back into the game. They added a run in the third on an RBI double by Scooter Gennett. Weaver escaped his biggest pinch of the night in the fifth inning. Cincinnati loaded the bases with two outs with base hits from Schebler and Gennett and a Eugenio Suarez walk. Weaver then walked in a run, issuing a free pass to Winker as the Reds trimmed the margin to 5-3. But the young righty induced a lazy fly ball off the bat of Jose Peraza to prevent further damage. Weaver gave up four runs on seven hits in five-plus innings.
"Today was a tough one with the weather conditions and the rain, with it getting a little muddy," Weaver said. "It is one of those where you have to put your stuff down and grind through it and make some good pitches. I pitched to some weak contact and missed some barrels."
After a leadoff walk to Alex Blandino in the sixth ended Weaver's night, Votto lined a two-out RBI single to right to trim the Cardinals' lead to a single run, 5-4. But Cards reliever Austin Gomber was able to get out of the inning with the lead thanks in part to a baserunning blunder by Tucker Barnhart for the third out. Barnhart took off for third base on a 1-1 pitch to Gennett and was thrown out without a slide by Molina.
"I crossed over and was in no man's land," Barnhart said. "I cost my team the momentum of the game."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Martinez's two homers: Martinez initiated the scoring three batters into the game when he lifted a 1-0 slider just over the right-field fence for a two-out solo shot in the first. In the third, he clobbered a 1-1 changeup up in the zone to left-center for a three-run home run and a four-RBI night. Martinez came into the game with just one career at-bat against Harvey.
"The first one, I thought he had it for a second," Martinez said. "It just kept carrying. I will take it, for sure. The second one, I wanted to drive the ball. I didn't want to hit into a double play."
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
In the fourth inning, Weaver made a dive to his left to field a weakly bouncing ball from Harvey, fielded the ball and slid into the first-base bag to beat Harvey and record the out.
"It was one of those plays where it was kind of in no man's land," Weaver said. "As a pitcher, you try to take that angle to get to first base. Something just clicked where I felt like I could get it, and if I didn't get it, then it would have been a tough play for Jose. I was pretty proud of myself for being able to collect it and get the out."
HE SAID IT
"He can really hit. I am still convinced he is going to be better defensively. He has the want to, and I believe that is going to pay off in the end. He can flat-out hit." -- Matheny, on Martinez
Michael Wacha gets the nod for St. Louis in Game 2 of this weekend series, starting at 3:10 p.m. CT. The right-hander has earned a win in each of his past two starts, and he took a no-hitter into the ninth in his last start, finishing with eight scoreless innings vs. the Pirates. For the season, Wacha is 7-1 with a 2.14 ERA. Luis Castillo will get the start for Cincinnati.