ST. LOUIS — Closers need nerves of steel. Raisel Iglesias is showing he has what it takes.
Adam Duvall’s two-run single was all Cincinnati needed as the Reds beat the St. Louis Cardinals 2-1 on Wednesday night.
The Reds’ third win in their last four games dealt a blow to the Cardinals’ playoff hopes. St. Louis remained one game behind San Francisco for the NL’s second wild card, with the New York Mets 1½ games ahead of the Giants.
Iglesias earned his fifth save in six opportunities with two innings of relief, pitching in and out of jams in both.
A walk to his first batter, a hit batter and a wild pitch in the eighth had Iglesias pitching out of a second and third with one out situation. The right-hander wriggled out with a strikeout and a ground out.
“First inning everything sped up for me,” Iglesias said through an interpreter. “After that I picked my tempo up and everything was fine after that.”
Cardinals pinch-hitter Kolten Wong led off the ninth with a triple. But Iglesias got a shallow fly sandwiched between two ground outs to end the game.
“After that I started to locate my pitches and it felt like a playoff game,” Iglesias said. “I’m going to be aggressive as I can be and go after the hitters.”
Reds starter Anthony DeSclafani (9-5) allowed one runner in each of the first four innings, but only once during that span did the Cardinals have anyone in scoring position. He stranded five runners, including two in the sixth, his last inning. He allowed six hits and one run.
“He pitched his heart out for us,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “What a boost. You think about our team and our turnaround in the second half and it really lines up with (DeSclafani) coming back into our rotation and getting Iglesias and (Michael) Lorenzen back healthy.”
It was the fifth quality start out of six in DeSclafani’s career against the Cardinals. He improved to 4-1 with a 2.13 ERA against St. Louis.
“I face them more often,” DeSclafani said. “I feel I learn more about them and they learn more about me so it’s a constant adjustment.”
Duvall drove in his 101st and 102nd runs with his third-inning single. He has seven RBIs in the series.
“They weren’t going down easy that’s for sure with Wong hitting that triple,” Duvall said. “But Iggy bared down and showed that he had some nasty stuff and was able to come out of it.”
Cardinals starter Mike Leake (9-12) allowed five hits and two runs in five innings, striking out six.
Leake was lifted for pinch-hitter Matt Adams in the fifth and he grounded into a double play that scored Aledmys Diaz for the Cardinals’ lone run.
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny brought closer Seung Hwan Oh in with one out in the eighth inning. Oh struck out both batters to get the Cardinals out of a jam after Duvall tripled to lead off the inning.
Oh left the game with two outs in the ninth after being hit by a line drive from Jose Peraza.
“It’s baseball, you’re going to have times when you just don’t get it done,” Matheny said. “Tonight was one of those times guys make good pitches in big situations and we couldn’t finish it off.”
The St. Louis Blues attended the game and defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk threw out the first pitch. The Cardinals wore hybrid Blues/Cardinals jerseys during warmups.
The Reds claimed IF/OF Patrick Kivlehan off waivers from the San Diego Padres and placed SS Zack Cozart on the 60-day DL list. This is the fourth organization Kivlehan has been a part of this season.
Reds: 2B Brandon Phillips (left hand) and OF Scott Schebler (left hamstring) were scratched from the lineup.
Cardinals: OF Matt Holliday (thumb) is not on a live batting practice schedule.
Reds: RHP Dan Straily (14-8, 3.74 ERA) has made 11 starts in which he allowed three hits or fewer. He is 1-0 with a 2.45 ERA in three career appearances against St. Louis.
Cardinals: RHP Alex Reyes (4-1, 1.58 ERA) has earned a win in his last three appearances. He is 0-0 with a 2.57 ERA in three career appearances against Cincinnati.