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CINCINNATI (AP) — Asher Wojciechowski frustrated St. Louis for five innings, and that was enough.
The right-hander gave one of his best performances in his return to the rotation, and Joey Votto drove home a pair of runs with a double and a single on Friday night, leading the Cincinnati Reds to a 3-2 victory over the Cardinals.
The Reds have won all five games against St. Louis at Great American Ball Park this season. They lead 8-3 in their season series.
Wojciechowski (2-1) started after making six relief appearances in July, taking the place of the injured Scott Feldman. Wojciechowski allowed only three hits, including Mike Leake's run-scoring infield single, and left after throwing 78 pitches.
"He's a mature kid," manager Bryan Price said of the rookie. "He's not going to get his feelings hurt if he has to leave. It's been a while since he went that long."
Wojciechowski felt strong on a cool night but didn't object to leaving after five innings.
"It feels great," he said. "I was out there trying to do what I had been doing in the long relief role."
Votto had a pair of RBI hits off Mike Leake (7-10), who fell to 0-5 in eight career starts against his former team. Billy Hamilton added a run-scoring single off Leake, who allowed eight hits in six innings.
"It's part of the game," Leake said. "Something's telling me I'm not supposed to beat them yet."
Votto played in his fifth All-Star game and then went into a 5-for-39 slump that dropped his average to .295. He has hit safely in his last nine games, the longest active streak on the team.
Michael Lorenzen gave up Carson Kelly's RBI single in the eighth, and the Cardinals loaded the bases with two outs. Randal Grichuk took a called third strike to end the threat.
Raisel Iglesias gave up a single and a walk in the ninth before finishing his 19th save in 20 chances. Cincinnati is only 6-15 since the All-Star break.
The Cardinals are 1-3 on the start of a three-city trip to Milwaukee, Cincinnati and Kansas City. They've lost their last two games by a run, slipping to 17-22 in such close finishes. Only Philadelphia has lost more one-run games in the majors.
St. Louis stranded seven runners in the last three innings, setting up another close loss.
"We put together some good at-bats at times, but we just can't get the big hit," manager Mike Matheny said. "That's how these games are decided. You need that big hit."
The Reds played a tribute on the videoboard and held a few moments of remembrance for Lee May, who died last weekend. May is in the team's Hall of Fame.
Rookie Jesse Winker scored from first base on Votto's double in the first inning, running through an emphatic stop sign by third base coach Billy Hatcher. The throw was up the line, allowing Winker to score.
Some of the Reds lost track of outs in the third and started off the field after a double play resulted in two gone.
Tucker Barnhart was called out at the plate as he also tried to score from second base on Hamilton's single in the fifth inning. The Reds challenged and umpire Brian Knight's call was upheld on review.
St. Louis rookie Paul DeJong broke an 0-for-16 slump. ... Greg Garcia had his first career triple and scored on Leake's single. ... The Reds haven't allowed a homer in their last four games, their longest such streak since 2015. They lead the majors with 197 allowed, putting them on pace to break their record of 258 given up last season.
The Reds acquired minor league outfielder Randy Ventura from the Braves in exchange for international bonus pool space.
Cardinals: C Yadier Molina was out of the lineup a day after getting hit in the head by a bat and in the shoulder by a foul tip. Manager Mike Matheny said he was OK, just getting a day of rest. Molina pinch-hit in the ninth and grounded out.
Reds: RHP Anthony DeSclafani had an MRI that detected tendinitis in his pitching elbow, another setback in his long rehabilitation. DeSclafani developed a sore elbow during spring training and hasn't pitched in a game.
Cardinals: Lance Lynn (9-6) has won his last three starts. He went 3-1 with a 1.47 ERA in six July starts. He's 9-4 career against the Reds.
Reds: Luis Castillo (2-4) is 1-3 in his last four starts. The rookie hasn't faced the Cardinals.
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