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Rookie Anthony DeSclafani handles Cardinals for 2nd straight start, leads Reds to 3-2 win

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CINCINNATI — has figured out how to handle the Cardinals — go right at them.

The rookie handled St. Louis for the second straight start, striking out a career-high nine, and the Cincinnati Reds turned a big first inning off into a 3-2 victory Tuesday night.

DeSclafani (7-7), the most experienced member of Cincinnati's all-rookie rotation with 20 starts, gave up seven hits and two runs in six innings. Last Wednesday in St. Louis, DeSclafani gave up only three hits in seven innings of a 1-0 win over the NL Central leaders.

"Same approach," manager said. "He has good stuff and he trusts it. It's more attitude than anything. I don't think he has any fear."

fanned two in the ninth — his fastball topping out at 101 mph — for his 23rd save in 24 chances. The lefty has converted 56 consecutive save opportunities at Great American Ball Park since his last failure in September 2012.

The Reds scored three runs in the first inning off Lackey (9-7), who hadn't allowed that many runs in any of his last nine starts. He went six innings, giving up six hits.

The Cardinals have dominated the Reds in recent years, winning 14 of their last 17 series. The Reds had a bit of a breakthrough in St. Louis last week, taking two of three — their first series win at Busch Stadium since 2001.

"It's fun playing the Cards and Pirates," center fielder said, referring to the last two opponents. "We get so motivated playing those guys. DeSclafani did a good job pitching and the defense had his back."

They got a good start on extending that success with the big first inning. had an RBI double — his fifth double in the last six games — and followed with another double as Cincinnati sent eight batters to the plate.

After that five-hit, 30-pitch inning, Lackey settled in and allowed only an infield single through the next five innings, retiring the last 14 batters he faced.

tripled off the wall in center field and hit his 14th homer in the third inning, cutting it to 3-2. It was Carpenter's fourth homer in the last five games.

"I didn't do anything different," DeSclafani said. "Any time you can pitch with that early cushion, you're more relaxed. You don't have to nibble as much."

GREAT CATCH

Hamilton initially misjudged 's fly to center in the eighth, but made a stretching, over-the-shoulder catch and slid on his stomach on the warning track to make up for his late break on the ball.

"It's a game changer," Cardinals manager said.

STREAKS

Heyward extended his hitting streak to seven games (10 for 22). Grichuk stretched his to seven games (11 for 25). had his snapped at eight games.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Reds: Hamilton rammed his right leg into the outfield wall while trying unsuccessfully to catch Grichuk's triple in the third inning. He came up wincing and stretched his leg, but stayed in the game.

UP NEXT

Cardinals: (11-4) allowed five runs and a season-high 10 hits in five innings of a 9-8 win over Colorado last Thursday. He's 3-1 with a 2.60 ERA in 13 career appearances against the Reds.

Reds: LHP (1-0) makes his second start since he was called up from Triple-A to take Johnny Cueto's spot in the rotation. Holmberg gave up two runs and five hits in six innings of a 15-5 win over Pittsburgh on Thursday.


Follow Joe Kay on Twitter: http://twitter.com/apjoekay

PHOTO: Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Anthony DeSclafani throws in the third inning of a baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals, Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2015, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Anthony DeSclafani throws in the third inning of a baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals, Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2015, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

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PHOTO: St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher John Lackey reacts after giving up three runs to the Cincinnati Reds during the first inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2015, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
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