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. LOUIS - It didnt take Tony Cruz long to consider all of his home runs and rank his latest. Hes only had three in his 100-game career and the first two came on the road. Cruz hit a three-run homer and the St. Louis Cardinals connected three times, beating the Cincinnati Reds 8-4 on Saturday night and moving closer to their fourth straight playoff berth. "It was a really good feeling," said Cruz, who also had the first curtain call of his career. "The first one of the year is always a really good feeling and my first one at home. You know you hear the crowd. Its amazing." Milwaukee beat second-place Pittsburgh 1-0 on Saturday to give the St. Louis a 3 1/2-game lead in the NL Central. The Cardinals cut their magic number to one for clinching a post-season berth, and five for their second NL Central title in a row. Kolten Wong and Randal Grichuk also homered as St. Louis won for the seventh time in eight games. The Cardinals have hit five homers in the past two games, but have just 104 for the season — among the lowest total in the majors. Their lack of power has provided an ongoing issue manager Mike Matheny has had to address. "I like the home runs," Matheny said in his postgame interview. "You guys always accuse me of not liking them, but especially those three-runners that Tony did. We know we have the kind of team that can do that and its nice to see them." Cincinnatis four runs were as many as it scored in the previous five games. The Reds have lost six in row and has been outscored 30-8 in that stretch. They are 20-40 since the All-Star break. "Youre seeing us having to go out there and really struggle so mightily to try to find a way to win a ball game," manager Bryan Price said. "Certainly nobodys enjoying this current portion of our schedule. The way weve played for the last 60 games has been miserable." Jason Motte (1-0) needed just three pitches and one out to earn the win. He came in relief of starter Michael Wacha and got Todd Frazier to foul out to right. Wacha didnt qualify for the win because he lasted just 4 2-3 innings. He was seeking his first win since June 17 before going on the disabled list with a shoulder injury. Wacha gave up two runs and six hits on 78 pitches, the most since returning at the start of the month. "I felt a lot better, today," he said. "More secondary stuff was working for me. My command was a little bit better. I felt it was a step in the right direction." Mike Leake (11-13) allowed six runs in five innings. He also walked two and hit a batter, all of whom scored. He gave up two homers and has surrendered 22 this season. Cruz hit his first homer in more than a year, connecting in the second. His last home run was Aug. 4, 2013, at Cincinnati. Wong hit his 12th, a two-run shot in the third. Grichuck added a pinch-hit homer in the sixth — it was his third of the season and his second in two nights. Grichuck later added an RBI bloop double. Zack Cozart homered for the Reds and Kris Negron doubled twice. TRAINERS ROOM Cardinals: 1B Matt Adams and 3B Matt Carpenter both were out of the starting lineup with a stomach virus. Matheny said they were "quarantined," though it wasnt clear if they were at Busch Stadium and available or sent home. ... Star C Yadier Molina got his first start of the season. Reds: C Devin Mesoraco was pulled in the sixth inning because of a stomach bug. Price said Mesoraco could have continued but the manager didnt think it was worth it. UP NEXT Reds: RHP Alfredo Simon (14-10, 3.35) has given up five hits in seven innings during each of his past two starts, including in a 4-2 win against St. Louis on Sept. 10. The Cardinals have batted .228 in 101 at-bats against Simon over 22 2-3 innings. Cardinals: RHP Lance Lynn (15-9, 2.68) has given up two runs over his past 15 innings and went 0-1 in those games, including a 1-0 loss at Cincinnati on Sept. 11. He has a 2.00 ERA this month over four starts and goes after his fourth win against the Reds. He is 3-1 with a 3.12 ERA in four games against them division rivals this season. Johnny Pesky Red Sox Jersey
. The Scotland captain has not played for the national team since November 2012. He returned to the United first team last December after a bout of ulcerative colitis. Scotland manager Gordon Strachan has also included 19-year-old Dundee United left-back Andrew Robertson in his 24-player squad, and Sunderland defender Phil Bardsley. Xander Bogaerts Red Sox Jersey
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.J. -- Ed Reed is unsure what his football future holds.DALLAS -- Rookie Colton Sceviour had two goals, rookie Jordie Benn scored the tiebreaker in the first minute of the third period, and the Dallas Stars beat the Colorado Avalanche 5-2 on Thursday night in a pre-season game. Benn, older brother of Stars forward Jamie Benn, beat goaltender Trevor Cann from the slot 22 seconds into the third period to snap a 2-all tie. Loui Eriksson and Steve Ott added third-period goals for the Stars (2-0) in their pre-season home opener and coach Glen Gulutzans home debut. Gulutzan was promoted from the Stars top minor league affiliate to replace Marc Crawford, who was fired at the end of last season. Rookies Tyson Barrie and Brad Malone scored for Colorado (0-1) in its pre-season opener. The Avalanchee left most of their veterans in Denver so their top prospects could get extra ice time. Xander Bogaerts Jersey
. The Stars used more veterans, but their lineup also included seven prospects. Dallas took four penalties in the games first five minutes -- three on Jamie Benn -- and Barrie capitalized on a two-man advantage at 6:41. Sceviour tied it 1-1 for Dallas at 10:11 of the opening period, and Sceviour poked a loose puck past goaltender Calvin Pickard at 9:18 of the second period to put the Stars in front. Stars No. 1 goaltender Kari Lehtonon stopped 16 of 17 shots and he was replaced by rookie Jack Campbell midway through the second period. Malone drew Colorado even at 2 at 12:09 of the second, beating Campbell from the left circle on the power play. Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys Wholesale NFL Jerseys Jerseys From China Wholesale NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap Jerseys Cheap Soccer Jerseys China
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