Things were looking up for the Cincinnati Reds as they headed into the seventh inning of Monday nights game against the St. Louis Cardinals with a 5-3 lead, however, Allen Craig launched a grand slam off of J.J. Hoover to give the Cardinals the lead for good as they went on to win 8-6.
The Reds offense gave starter Mike Leake, who gave up five runs on seven hits over six and a third innings, an early 4-0 lead after Zack Cozart and Todd Frazier hit two-run triples in the the second inning.
But the Cardinals came back strong an inning later. After retiring the first batter, Leake allowed a single to Matt Carpenter and issued a walk to Jon Jay. On the second pitch of his at-bat, Mat Holliday tattooed the ball into left field and into the upper deck cutting the Reds lead to 4-3.
After two scoreless innings for both clubs, the Reds got a run in the sixth when Cozart doubled home Devin Mesoraco, who reached on a single to right.
The momentum changed immensely in the seventh. Still holding onto a two run advantage, Leake allowed a leadoff single to left. After retiring Daniel Descalso, he allowed a pinch-hit double to Carlos Beltran and his outing was done. Manny Parra was called upon to pit out of a jam. After walking Matt Carpenter to load the bases, Jon Jay put the Cards within one with a groundout to Joey Votto. After another pitching change that brought J.J. Hoover into the game, Allen Craig wasted no time taking the first pitch he saw from Hoover and sending it into the stands for his first career grand slam.
"I was trying to go away," Hoover said. "I know he's a good hitter. I know he's a really good hitter with the bases loaded. I didn't want to come in there with the first pitch because I didn't want to risk hitting him. I let it go that way. He got it. I left it a little bit over the plate."
The Reds got a run in the eighth thanks to a leadoff solo home run by Jay Bruce, but that was the only offense they managed in the eighth and ninth innings.
The win gave St. Louis sole possession of first place in the NL Central. The loss dropped the Reds to three and a half back of the Cards.
Mat Latos will be on the mound tonight looking for revenge in game two. The game is scheduled for 8:15 ET.
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