ST. LOUIS -- Even though there was only one team trying to remain in postseason contention during this game, Wednesday's 2-1 nail-biter of a Reds win over the Cardinals on a cool fall evening at Busch Stadium still provided tension and drama. Now, imagine what it would have felt like for
ST. LOUIS -- Even though there was only one team trying to remain in postseason contention during this game, Wednesday's 2-1 nail-biter of a Reds win over the Cardinals on a cool fall evening at Busch Stadium still provided tension and drama. Now, imagine what it would have felt like for the Reds if they were also fighting for a playoff spot.
Two pitchers the club hopes will be around when that time comes -- starter Anthony DeSclafani and reliever Raisel Iglesias -- didn't shrink when tight jams came their way with the game on the line.
"That's more than you really want to go through in one game, the 158th game of the season, I'll tell you. I'm so tickled that we pulled that one out. A lot of things had to go right," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "That was about as satisfying a win as I've had here in our recent history."
In the sixth inning with two outs, DeSclafani gave up a Stephen Piscotty single and Jhonny Peralta's double to left field. Adam Duvall did a nice job cutting the ball off and making a quick throw to prevent the potential tying run from scoring.
DeSclafani struck out his final batter, Brandon Moss, to get out of trouble and end his season on a high note. He finished 9-5 with a 3.28 ERA in 20 starts.
"I feel like getting out of the jam there in the sixth makes the ending a little bit better," DeSclafani said. "I was kind of in a tough spot and you have to pitch your way out of it to get out of the jam."
Following a perfect seventh by Michael Lorenzen, Price turned the final six outs over to Iglesias. It was uncharacteristically bumpy as Iglesias walked first batter Matt Carpenter, hit Yadier Molina with a one-out pitch and threw a wild pitch that put the potential tying run on third base and go-ahead run on second base.
Iglesias got Piscotty to strike out on a pitch in the dirt and made Peralta's bat explode grounding a slider to third base for the third out.
"It looks [and] sounds easy, that all you need is a sacrifice fly," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "But you have a guy who is throwing 98 [mph], dropping down, throwing sliders. There is plenty of challenge to getting the job done."
In the ninth, Iglesias immediately backed himself into a corner when pinch-hitter Kolten Wong hit a triple to the right-field wall. But with the infield in, Aledmys Díaz grounded out to third base and Greg Garcia flied to left field but not deep enough to let Wong tag up.
Jedd Gyorko grounded out to third base to end the game, and Iglesias had his fifth save.
"In that moment when you've got the tying run on third, I just thought about being more aggressive and going after the hitter. After that, I just tried to locate my pitches, and it felt like a playoff game," Iglesias said via interpreter Julio Morillo.
It put a huge dent in the Cardinals' chances of securing a National League Wild Card spot.
"You think about our team and our turnaround in the second half," Price said. "It really lines up with 'Disco' coming back into our rotation and then getting Iglesias and Lorenzen healthy and being reinvigorated."
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.