At this time last year, the St. Louis Cardinals began what was one of the most magical rides in franchise history. Following their 8-5 victory over the first-place Reds on Friday night -- which is the club's fourth win in a row -- the Cardinals are starting to show they aren't conceding the National League Central anytime soon.
A six-run sixth inning propelled St. Louis to a lead they would not relinquish. The Reds took an early 2-0 lead in the first inning and tacked on runs in the second and third to push the score to 4-1. David Freese singled home a run in the top of the fourth to cut the deficit to 4-2, although Cincinnati responded with an RBI double in the fifth to make it 5-2.
The sixth inning went like this: Carlos Beltran and Matt Holliday singled to begin the frame, and they were driven in on a three-run blast from Allen Craig. Yadier Molina followed with a solo homer to give St. Louis a 6-5 lead. David Freese walked, Skip Schumaker singled and then Rafael Furcal singled home Freese to make it 7-5. Matt Carpenter hit a deep sacrifice fly to push the lead to 8-5.
The Cardinals bullpen was terrific as a whole, working seven innings of one-run ball. They surrendered just six hits and one walk. Scott Rolen came to the plate with two outs in the ninth as the potential game-tying run, but struck out swinging against Jason Motte.
The two clubs will meet again at 3:05 p.m. CT on Saturday.
For more on the Cardinals, check out Viva El Birdos.