CINCINNATI (AP) — St. Louis rinsed the bad taste of being swept by the Chicago Cubs the best way they could — sweeping Cincinnati.
Dexter Fowler delivered again, hitting two doubles and a single as St. Louis overcame Scott Schebler's two home runs to beat the Reds 8-5 Thursday night.
The Cardinals began the day 2 ½ games behind Colorado for the second NL wild-card spot and five games behind the Central-leading Cubs.
Fowler drove in two runs. He went 7 for 13 with two home runs and six RBIs in the three-game series.
Yadier Molina drove in two runs as the Cardinals completed their first sweep in Cincinnati since 2010.
"We didn't play good games in Chicago," said Molina, who reached a new career high with a team-leading 82 RBIs. "We got good hitting, good pitching and good defense here. Everybody took good at bats. That's what we need to do."
Five different Cardinals finished with two or more hits as St. Louis scored at least eight runs for the third consecutive game.
"There were a lot of good things," manager Mike Matheny said. "We had a big day. Yadi coming up with big hits. I saw some good things all day long across the board."
"It's a huge game every night. It doesn't matter who you're playing. We were coming off a tough weekend, and the guys did a real nice job clearing their minds and getting back to doing what they need to do to be successful."
Carlos Martinez (12-11), celebrating his 26th birthday, lasted 6 1/3 innings on a muggy night with a gametime temperature of 85 degrees, allowing four runs and nine hits.
Martinez improved to 3-1 in his last four starts. He gave up Phillip Ervin's two-run homer in the fourth and a drive by Schebler in the seventh.
Schebler led off the ninth with a homer, his 29th of the season.
"I got that first one pretty good," Schebler said. "Martinez got a couple pitches in on me. The last at-bat, he just threw me a pitch where I was expecting it."
The announced attendance of 14,903 didn't include the dogs who accompanied their owners as part of the Reds' fourth "Bark in the Park" Night of the season.
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