Yairo Munoz celebrated a rare start with a home run and a triple to help the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Cincinnati Reds 3-1 on Sunday.
Munoz, making his 16th start among 55 games, also singled to finish with three of the six hits for the Cardinals, who improved to 7-3 since the All-Star break.
His second homer of the season in the ninth, off Raisel Iglesias, gave St. Louis an insurance run.
The Reds avoided their ninth shutout loss of the season on Phillip Ervin’s eighth-inning pinch-hit home run off Andrew Miller.
Just two Reds baserunners got as far as second base in the first four innings against Jack Flaherty, who was 0-3 over his last 10 starts since winning at Atlanta on May 14, before they loaded the bases with nobody out in the fifth.
Flaherty got Yasiel Puig to pop out, and Giovanny Gallegos (2-1) came on to fan Josh VanMeter and Scooter Gennett, the first two of four straight strikeouts.
Carlos Martinez pitched the ninth for his eighth save.
Anthony DeSclafani (5-5) struck out a career-high 11 and allowed just one earned run in six innings, but a shaky second was all the Cardinals needed.
Four different Cardinals stole bases while St. Louis was scoring two runs in the inning. Tyler O’Neill scored from third on Munoz’s one-out bloop single to right over a drawn-in Cincinnati infield. Andrew Knizer walked and, after a double steal, Munoz scored an unearned run on Suarez’s error of Harrison Bader’s sharp one-hopper.
DeSclafani allowed four hits and no walks.
Reds: OF Nick Senzel was expected to start on Sunday after pinch-running and playing defense on Saturay, but manager David Bell chose to have him avoid a full day in 90-degree weather and not risk the right hamstring that tightened on Wednesday.
Cardinals: The Pirates roughed up RHP Daniel Ponce de Leon (1-0) for eight hits and four runs in 3 2/3 innings of a 6-5 St. Louis win on Wednesday.
Reds: RHP Sonny Gray (5-6) allowed four hits in eight shutout innings of a Cincinnati 3-0 win over Milwaukee on July 3.
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