Arch-rival Yadier Molina had three hits and drove in the winning run in the St. Louis Cardinals 3-2 win in the rubber game of the series.
Reds' young starter Brandon Finnegan matched up with Cardinals' ace Adam Wainwright in a closely contested pitcher's duel.
The Reds scored two runs right away. Joey Votto walked. Brandon Phillips doubled to the rightfield corner. Jay Bruce drove in his team-high 42nd run with a ground out. Adam Duvall's single scored Phillips for Duvall's 40th RBI. Duvall was caught stealing to end the inning.
Yadier Molina doubled and scored on Brandon Moss' single in the second inning.
"There a good team," Bryan Price said. "They are aggressive."
Finnegan retired the next 12 batters but walked Matt Carpenter to lead off the sixth inning. Finnegan committed a balk to move Carpenter to second. Aledmys Diaz singled to score Carpenter and tie the game.
"It was a big call. He (homeplate umpire Jerry Meals) didn't tell me what I did. I've done that all my life and have never been called. I didn't know the homeplate could call that. That's the firstbase umpire's call. It happened and there was nothing I could do about it. You can't review it. I made a good pitch and he (Diaz) broke his bat."
Wainwright carved the Reds over the next five frames. He retired the next 14 Reds until he hit Votto with a pitch. Wainwright struck out Phillips for his ninth strikeout.
Finnegan pitched out of a jam in the seventh. Molina singled to open the inning. Moss bunted for a basehit.but Finnegan pitched out of it, retiring Jedd Gyorko, Randal Grichuk and pinch hitter Jhonny Peralta to conclude his evening. He pitched seven innings, allowing two runs on five hits and just one walk. Finnegan struck out seven.
"I trust Finney," Price said. "I know he's not going to implode. He's a fiesty guy and he competes. He won't let that situation get to him."
"My mindset is to compete," Finnegan said. "I'm going to be aggressive and go at them with my best stuff."
Seung Hwan Oh retired the Reds in the seventh with one strike out.
Ross Ohlendorf entered the game for the Reds. Carpenter doubled to open the inning and extend his hitting streak to six games. Diaz bunted to Votto, who threw to third to get Carpenter. Carpenter was ruled safe on a close play. The call was confirmed on review. Matt Holliday walked to load the bases with no outs. Stephen Piscotty hit a smash at Zack Cozart at short with the infield drawn in. Cozart made a backhand short hop pick up and forced Carpenter at home. Molina's third hit put the Cardinals ahead 3-2. Ohlendorf confined the damage to one run.
"When Carpenter hit that double, you're swimming up stream," Price said. "We took a shot at thirdbase on the bunt. That was a risk worth taking. Ross almost pitched out of it."
The Reds threatened against Kevin Siegrist in the eighth. Tyler Holt singled to open it. One out later Ivan De Jesus Jr. hit a flair to right Piscotty dived for the ball and the umpire ruled it a catch. Piscotty threw to second from his knees but Holt held first based on the out call. The Reds got the umpires to review the call which was overturned. The umpires awarded Holt second and De Jesus first. The Reds had Cozart and Votto due up with runners on first and second with one out. Cozart was hitting .303 coming in but popped to shortstop. Votto grounded hard to short for a force.
Trevor Rosenthal pitched a perfect ninth for the save.