CINCINNATI — Even when things go horribly wrong on the road, the St. Louis Cardinals can always count on one soothing stop. No matter how deep their slump, it’ll end in Cincinnati.
Matt Carpenter broke his 0-for-23 slump with a bases-loaded double during the decisive rally, and the Cardinals ended a tough trip on the upswing by beating the Reds 15-2 on Sunday.
The Cardinals went 3-8 on a trip that included seven straight losses — four of them in Pittsburgh, allowing the Pirates to overtake them for the NL Central lead. On their final stop, an offense that couldn’t do much of anything found a little bit of everything.
“Offensively, we did a terrific job,” manager Mike Matheny said. “We had a little bit of everything — some power, some good situational hitting, made the (defensive) plays.”
It’s been like that against the Reds lately.
St. Louis took two of three at Great American Ball Park and has won its last six series against Cincinnati, its best such stretch against the Reds since 2003-04. The Cardinals lead the season series 8-4.
“Some teams you play better than others, but they’ve got our number for sure,” said Reds starter Mike Leake (10-5), who gave up a season-high seven runs. “They play us tough. It’s on us to try to figure them out because they’ve got us figured out for the most part.”
The Cardinals scored their most runs against Cincinnati since 1993. They’ve scored at least 10 runs against the Reds in four games this season, the first time they’ve done that since 1980.
Carpenter’s two-run double off the wall completed a five-run rally in the sixth against Leake and two relievers, setting up another blowout.
“It’s a great feeling,” Carpenter said. “It’s even better that we come back and win the series in a convincing fashion. It was fun to join in on the action.”
Matt Adams, David Freese and Tony Cruz homered for the Cardinals, who have scored 13, 13, 3 and 15 runs in their last four games.
St. Louis finished with 19 hits and a season high in runs. Every starter except Lance Lynn drove in at least one run.
Rangers 4, Athletics 0: OAKLAND, Calif. — Derek Holland gave up four hits in eight stellar innings, Nelson Cruz and Mitch Moreland each hit a home run and Ron Washington became the winningest manager in Rangers history as Texas beat the Oakland Athletics 4-0 on Sunday.
Adrian Beltre had two hits and drove in a run for the Rangers, who have won six of seven to move within 2 1-2 games of the AL West-leading Athletics.
Nate Freiman had two hits for the A’s, who have lost four of five.
Holland (9-6) walked two and matched his season high with 10 strikeouts to end a personal two-game losing streak.
A.J. Griffith (10-8) lasted 6 2-3 innings, allowing four runs — three earned — on five hits. He walked one and struck out seven. Griffin has allowed a majors-leading 28 home runs in 2013 and became the first Oakland pitcher to give up two or more in four straight starts since Mark Redman in 2007.
Washington, who coached for Oakland for several years, passed Bobby Valentine with his 582nd win.
Royals 6, Mets 2: NEW YORK— Ervin Santana scattered five hits and allowed one run in six innings, and surging Kansas City beat New York.
The Royals won for the 11th time in 12 games, helped by a pair of flyballs that right fielder Marlon Byrd lost in the sun. Both came during a three-run fifth, with one falling for a double and the other glancing off his glove for an error.
Mike Moustakas hit a solo homer for the Royals, who completed an 8-1 road trip.
Pirates 5, Rockies 1: PITTSBURGH — A.J. Burnett scattered eight hits and Russell Martin provided some rare run support for the right-hander with a three-run homer to lead Pittsburgh over Colorado.
Burnett (5-7) struck out nine and walked one in his first complete game of the season and 23rd of his 15-year career. He threw 110 pitches, 83 for strikes.
Twins 3, Astros 2: MINNEAPOLIS — Justin Morneau and Oswaldo Arcia homered, and four relievers combined for four scoreless innings to lead Minnesota to a three-game sweep of Houston.
Arcia led off the seventh with a home run that broke a 2-all tie. He connected against Brad Peacock (1-4), who was promoted from Triple-A to make the start and struck out 10.
Caleb Thielbar (2-1) got two outs for the win and Glen Perkins earned his 27th save.
The Twins hadn’t swept a series, or won three games in a row, since June 18-20 against the Chicago White Sox.
The Astros have lost four straight overall.
Twins starter Mike Pelfrey went five innings but remains winless since July 6.