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Major League Baseball
St. Louis 2, Cincinnati 1
When: 8:15 PM ET, Monday, September 21, 2015
Where: Busch Stadium, St. Louis, Missouri
Temperature: 76°
Umpires: Home - Tony Randazzo, 1B - Gerry Davis, 2B - Phil Cuzzi, 3B - Gabe Morales
Attendance: 43902

ST. LOUIS -- To ensure that their closer could tie a club record, the St. Louis Cardinals first needed to keep the Cincinnati Reds' closer from entering the game.

Three outs away from facing closer Aroldis Chapman and his 100-plus mph fastballs, St. Louis touched setup man J.J. Hoover for three hits and two runs to erase a 1-0 deficit in the bottom of the eighth inning Monday night.

That allowed Trevor Rosenthal to secure his 47th save and the Cardinals to pull out a 2-1 win that cut their magic number for clinching their third straight National League Central title down to nine.

Rosenthal worked around one-out singles by second baseman Brandon Phillips and third baseman Todd Frazier, getting a flyout from right fielder Jay Bruce and a game-ending groundout from pinch-hitter Brayan Pena.

The save enabled Rosenthal to tie Lee Smith (1991) and Jason Isringhausen (2004) for the single-season team mark.

"I'm still learning," said Rosenthal, a starter for most of his minor league career. "They've helped me do a good job transitioning to this role. I have a pretty good idea when I'm going to be pitching."

Rosenthal's 100 mph fastball has been much more venomous this year, as he's displayed the pinpoint control that marked his rookie season in 2013, when he was a setup man until the regular season's last week.

While Rosenthal bagged 45 saves last year, he also walked 42 batters in 70 1/3 innings and had to be pulled from some save chances late in the season due to control problems. That's not been the case this year, as he's cut walks down to 23 in 66 2/3 innings and pitched to a 1.49 earned run average.

"I've done a better job of attacking hitters earlier in the count, making competitive pitches to the first couple of hitters," Rosenthal said.

St. Louis' closer fell into attack mode after its offense finally did the same in the eighth, starting with a leadoff triple from center fielder Tommy Pham off Cincinnati setup man J.J. Hoover (8-2).

Pham and his teammates knew they needed an urgent response to keep Chapman from appearing in the ninth.

"I knew the possibility of him coming into the game was approaching, so if we could capitalize soon, it was only going to help us," Pham said.

One out later, shortstop Jhonny Peralta lined a game-tying RBI single to right, the first run the Cardinals had scored off the Reds (63-86) at Busch Stadium in 29 innings, dating back to July 27.

Two pitches later, left fielder Stephen Piscotty supplied the tie-breaking run by ripping a double off the left-center field wall, scoring pinch-runner Peter Bourjos.

The rally denied Cincinnati rookie starter John Lamb a win despite the best outing of his brief major league career. Lamb tossed six shutout innings, allowing just five hits with a walk and six strikeouts.

"It's mixed emotions because our team didn't come away with the win, but I'm excited with how I pitched," Lamb said. "It's nice to throw six scoreless for sure."

After allowing Cincinnati's lone run in the first on a one-out single by Phillips that plated center fielder Jason Bourgeois, St. Louis starter Jaime Garcia retired 14 of the next 15 batters and made it through seven innings. Garcia gave up five hits and a run with two walks and five strikeouts.

But he was on the hook for a loss until the Cardinals (94-56) notched their MLB-high 12th win after trailing going into the eighth inning.

"Just goes to show that these guys stick with what's worked," St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said. "They realize that something's going to happen."

NOTES: St. Louis C Yadier Molina (left thumb) has a partially torn ligament and won't play until at least Saturday, when the injury is supposed to be re-evaluated. Molina was injured in the eighth inning of Sunday's 4-3 win at the Chicago Cubs. ... The Cardinals bought the contract of C Travis Tartamella from Triple-A Memphis, giving them a third catcher, and designated 1B Xavier Scruggs for assignment. ... Cincinnati CF Billy Hamilton (right shoulder) will undergo season-ending surgery on Friday.
Top Game Performances
Starting Pitchers
Cincinnati   St. Louis
John Lamb Player Jaime Garcia
No Decision W/L No Decision
6.0 IP 7.0
6 Strikeouts 5
5 Hits 5
0.00 ERA 1.29
Cincinnati   St. Louis
Brandon Phillips Player Jhonny Peralta
3 Hits 2
1 RBI 1
0 HR 0
3 TB 2
.750 Avg .500
Team Stats Summary
Team Hits HR TB Avg LOB K RBI BB SB Errors
Cincinnati 8 0 8 .250 14 7 1 2 0 0
St. Louis 8 0 12 .250 16 7 2 1 0 0