Albert Pujols hit his 698th career homer as the St. Louis Cardinals edged the visiting Cincinnati Reds 6-5 on Friday night.
Nolan Arenado went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and a run and Paul Goldschmidt went 2-for-4 with an RBI and two runs for St. Louis (85-60).
Jake Fraley hit a two-run double and Kyle Farmer hit a solo homer for Cincinnati (57-87).
Cardinals starter Jack Flaherty allowed four runs on six hits and two walks in five innings. He fanned five. Reliever Chris Stratton (9-4) earned the victory, and Ryan Helsley struck out the side on nine pitches in the ninth inning for his 18th save.
That was the Cardinals’ first immaculate inning since Jason Isringhausen accomplished the feat in 2002.
Fernando Cruz served as the opener for the Reds and retired five batters without allowing a hit. Reiver Sanmartin, Derek Law, Raynel Espinal, Joel Kuhnel, Ian Gibaut and Dauri Moreta followed, with Gibaut (1-2) taking the loss.
Cincinnati took a 1-0 lead in the third inning. Nick Senzel led off with an infield single and moved to second on Arenado’s throwing error. Spencer Steer walked, then Flaherty hit TJ Friedl with a pitch before Jonathan India hit a run-scoring fielder’s choice.
St. Louis tied the game at 1 in the bottom of the inning. Tyler O’Neill walked, stole second base and scored on India’s throwing error on Brendan Donovan’s infield single.
Austin Romine and Friedl hit singles to start the Cincinnati fifth, and then Flaherty plunked Farmer with a one-out pitch. Fraley hit a two-run double and Aristides Aquino hit an RBI single to put the Reds up, 4-1.
The Cardinals tied the game at 4 in the sixth. Goldschmidt hit a double and scored on Arenado’s single. One out later, Pujols’ homer evened the score. It was his 19th long ball of the year but his 12th in his past 32 games.
Farmer greeted reliever JoJo Romero with a leadoff homer in the seventh to put Cincinnati back ahead 5-4.
St. Louis surged ahead 6-5 its half of the inning. Donovan walked and scored on Goldschmidt’s one-out double. Arenado followed with a double for the game-winning RBI.
–Field Level Media