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CIN@STL: Cozart singles in tying run in the eighth

ST. LOUIS -- Four times out of five games during this road trip, the Reds have been on the field for extra innings. Three times, they've had to walk off of it with their heads down and the pang of sudden defeat stinging their gut.

Following a 2-1 loss to the Cardinals in 10 innings Tuesday, manager Dusty Baker answered a lot of questions, but asked one himself.

"How many times can your heart get ripped out in a short period of time?" Baker said.

Despite being 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position and leaving 14 on base, St. Louis still found a way to win. Or was it that Cincinnati found a way to lose?

The ending on Tuesday after reliever Sam LeCure walked David Freese to begin the 10th inning of a 1-1 game. A sacrifice bunt by Yadier Molina and intentional walk of Jon Jay followed. Lefty Bill Bray took over and walked Daniel Descalso to load the bases and bring the infield and outfield in.

Lefty pinch-hitter Matt Carpenter worked a full count against Bray and skied a fly to right field that was pretty deep. Jay Bruce made a desperation heave that bounced once before the plate and got away from catcher Devin Mesoraco as pinch-runner Tyler Greene slid in safely.

"I think when you're on the road, it's a little tougher," Reds left fielder Ryan Ludwick said. "If you're in extra innings and the home team wins, it's always going to be a walk off. It's a little more dramatic. We've had some really close ballgames lately, and unfortunately, we've been on the losing end of the stick. We're competing. Offensively, we're not having big innings. We're not stringing stuff together right now."

Batting .205 as a team, the Reds are 1-4 on the 10-game trip, and have dropped six of the last eight. The club has also scored one run in five of the last eight games against either Washington or St. Louis.

The Reds' rotation hasn't notched a victory since Johnny Cueto on Opening Day -- April 5 against the Marlins. Cueto survived a shaky beginning to end with solid one-run ball over seven innings that included two walks and five strikeouts. The right-hander gave up his one run quickly as the second batter, Carlos Beltran, took his 2-2 pitch deep to right field for a homer.

St. Louis repeatedly seemed poised to add on against Cueto, but couldn't, even with runners in scoring position in the second, third and fourth innings. Cueto, who has a 1.89 ERA after three starts, needed some backup that didn't come.

"At this time right now, we're not getting a lot of help from the offense," Cueto said through an interpreter. "That's the way it is. It's going to come to a time that they'll start to hit."

Logan Ondrusek followed Cueto with two scoreless innings, but not before escaping a bases-loaded jam with one out in the ninth. Baker went to LeCure, followed by Bray in the 10th -- deciding to hold back closer Sean Marshall for a save situation and not use Aroldis Chapman.

"Everybody is getting paid. Everybody has a job to do," Baker said of his bullpen. "Chapman went two innings two days ago. We didn't want to go Chapman again."

Cardinals starter Kyle Lohse, who has a 0.89 ERA after three starts, began by retiring his first six batters and 12 of his last 13 as he pitched seven scoreless innings, allowing just four hits.

The Reds, who were 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position, had runners on first and second with no outs before Lohse struck out the side in the fourth.

"He made tough pitches when he had to," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "He just has a confidence out there because he sees what his stuff looks like."

In the eighth against Mitchell Boggs, leadoff batter Ryan Hanigan reached on a grounder to second base that went between Descalso's legs for an error. Pinch-hitter Wilson Valdez sacrifice-bunted toward the mound, where Boggs couldn't pick up the ball and was charged with an error.

St. Louis caught a break when Brandon Phillips' hard liner went right to Descalso, who threw to first base and got Valdez away from the bag for a double play. Zack Cozart evened the game with a lined single to right field that scored pinch-runner Mesoraco.

In the top of the 10th against winning reliever Jason Motte, Mesoraco led off with a single. With one out, Baker called for a hit and run with Phillips batting. As Phillips struck out, Mesoraco was nailed trying to take second base to end the inning.

"With Brandon up, if I don't run Mesoraco and Brandon hits the ball on the ground -- with his leg [a sore left hamstring], it's a double play," Baker said. "If you run him and he strikes out, it's a double play. You're between a rock and a hard place.

"We're playing just good enough to lose right now. We just have to execute better because we practice and practice and preach and talk about things. It's just not happening right now." Comments