Cingrani stars as Reds win game, series against Cardinals

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Cingrani stars as Reds win game, series against Cardinals

TODAY’S GAME

Dodgers at Reds, 7:10 p.m., FS Ohio, 700, 1410

Tony Cingrani made fans forget Johnny Cueto earlier this season. He made them forget Billy Hamilton on Thursday.

“Speedy” Cingrani not only pitched a gem considering the circumstances and the opponent, he also got to show off his wheels in the second inning. He bunted for a single, took second for his first career stolen base, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on a single by Brandon Phillips.

On the mound, at the plate and on the bases, Cingrani set the tone in a 6-2 victory, one of the biggest wins of the season for the Reds as it came in their last regular-season game against the Cardinals.

“He’ll do anything to beat you,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “That’s the attitude you like. That’s the attitude he brings. He scored the first run, and the first run’s big as far as we’re concerned because usually we win when we score that first run.”

That first run led to five more, thanks in part to two home runs by Todd Frazier and solo shots by Shin-Soo Choo and Jay Bruce. The Reds scored in six straight innings a night after going eight innings without a run in a 5-4 loss in 16.

“I tried to get a little bit in (Cardinals starter) Lance Lynn’s head there,” Cingrani said. “It worked, I guess.”

Cingrani, reinstated from the 15-day disabled list before the game after missing two starts with a lower back strain, looked excited to be back from the first pitch. He literally had a bounce in his step at times.

Always a quick worker, he got back on the mound after every pitch as soon as he could. He gave up two runs on four hits in 5 2/3 innings with seven strikeouts.

“It’s hard to sit here for 16 days and not do anything, except for a little back work,” Cingrani said. “I was a little overly amped when (Matt) Carpenter stepped in the box because he’s been swinging well.”

The Cardinals scored nine runs in this four-game series after scoring 31 runs in three games in the last series they played in Cincinnati in August.

St. Louis (80-60) saw its lead over the Reds (79-62) in the wild-card race shrink to 1½ games. Pittsburgh (81-58) leads the Cardinals by 1½ and the Reds by three.

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