Final

Series: Game 3 of 4

Cincinnati leads 2-1 (as of 9/10)

Game 1: Monday, September 8
St. Louis5Final
Cincinnati0
Game 2: Tuesday, September 9
St. Louis5Final
Cincinnati9
Game 3: Wednesday, September 10
St. Louis2Final
Cincinnati4
Game 4: Thursday, September 11
St. Louis0Final
Cincinnati1

Cardinals 2

(80-66, 36-38 away)

Reds 4

(69-77, 39-35 home)

    Coverage:  FSOH

    7:10 PM ET, September 10, 2014

    Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati, Ohio 

    123456789 R H E
    STL 200000000 2 6 1
    CIN 11011000 - 4 9 0

    W: A. Simon (14-10)

    L: T. Lyons (0-4)

    S: A. Chapman (32)

    Cardinals-Reds Preview

    STATS LLC

    The NL Central-leading St. Louis Cardinals are looking to get back to business after watching the lowly Cincinnati Reds even this four-game set.

    John Lackey takes the mound opposite Alfredo Simon as these division rivals go at it again Wednesday night in Cincinnati.

    The Cardinals (80-65) took Monday's opener by a 5-0 score but couldn't keep up the following day, falling 9-5 for just their second defeat in 11 games. St. Louis remains 4 1/2 games ahead of Pittsburgh for the division lead after the Pirates lost at Philadelphia.

    "One of those days when you're fighting just to stay in it," manager Mike Matheny said.

    Devin Mesoraco went 2 for 3 with a homer and three RBIs for Cincinnati (68-77) and Brandon Phillips knocked in two. The Reds, who had dropped eight of their previous 10, are an NL-worst 17-33 since the All-Star break.

    "Maybe at this point, we're not in the best position, but we can wreck some other people's chances," Mesoraco told MLB's official website. "I think as a competitor, it's not just as fulfilling but it's a very fulfilling thing that you can go out and beat the teams that are competing for the playoffs and the teams that are at the top of the division. We need to go out there and keep doing that."

    Despite the victory, Cincinnati is 4-10 against the Cardinals this year. St. Louis has compiled a 40-25 record against the NL Central, an impressive feat in one of baseball's better divisions.

    The Cardinals are hoping to get a better showing from Lackey (2-2, 4.87 ERA), who gave up all six runs and nine hits over six innings in Friday's 6-2 loss at Milwaukee. The right-hander had a 2.39 ERA over his previous four starts.

    "Kind of a weird one tonight," Lackey said. "I felt like I threw better than the line score. I had pretty good stuff. They got a couple big hits and I had a little bit of bad luck."

    Lackey has dropped two of three road starts since coming over from Boston while posting an 8.00 ERA, nearly three times higher than his 2.73 mark at home during that time. He allowed four runs -- two earned -- and struck out seven over six innings in a 5-4 walkoff home win over Cincinnati on Aug. 19.

    Simon (13-10, 3.52) is looking to bounce back following one of his shortest outings of the year. He was tagged for a career worst-tying six earned runs over four innings in Friday's 14-5 defeat to the New York Mets.

    The right-hander hasn't been the same since making the All-Star team, going 1-7 with a 5.27 ERA -- tied for the most losses in the second half.

    Simon surrendered three runs -- including a solo homer to Jhonny Peralta -- over 5 1/3 innings opposite Lackey last month in his only start against the Cardinals.

    Cincinnati's Jay Bruce could be back in the lineup after coming on as a defensive replacement Tuesday. He's batting .145 with 19 strikeouts over a 17-game stretch and .184 against St. Louis this year.

    Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday has hit safely in seven straight in the series, going 12 for 28 with five RBIs.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

    SPONSORED HEADLINES

    Gameday Matchup

     St. LouisCincinnati
    W-L90-7276-86
    Night58-4943-63
    Grass87-7076-86
    Current StreakW1W2
    Last 106-45-5

    Pitching Matchup

    St. LouisCincinnati
    J. Lackey
    14-10, 3.82 ERA

    Last Game:
    9/24 at CHC
    6.2 IP, 2 ER
    Dec = Loss
    A. Simon
    15-10, 3.44 ERA

    Last Game:
    9/27 vs PIT
    5.0 IP, 4 ER
    Dec = ND

    Gameday Lineups

    NO.St. LouisCincinnati
    1. M. Carpenter, 3B C. Heisey, LF
    2. J. Jay, CF B. Pena, 1B
    3. M. Holliday, LF T. Frazier, 3B
    4. M. Adams, 1B D. Mesoraco, C
    5. O. Taveras, RF B. Phillips, 2B
    6. Y. Molina, C J. Bruce, RF
    7. K. Wong, 2B R. Ludwick, LF
    8. P. Kozma, SS Z. Cozart, SS
    9. J. Lackey, P A. Simon, P

    Research Notes

    Aroldis Chapman threw nine fastballs during the 9th inning Wednesday vs the Cardinals. They averaged 102.1 MPH. That's tied for his second highest average fastball velocity in 252 career appearances (highest since 2010).

    ESPN Stats & Information