ST. LOUIS (AP) - The Cincinnati Reds avoided a lot more than just your garden variety three-game sweep. Bronson Arroyo and the bullpen squandered an eight-run, fifth-inning lead.
The offense stalled, too, before finally outlasting the St. Louis Cardinals 9-8 in 13 innings Wednesday night.
Pinch-hitter Ramon Hernandez, the last regular on the bench, doubled in the go-ahead run. Chris Heisey, Jay Bruce, Fred Lewis and Scott Rolen homered for the Reds, who led 8-0 in the fifth but managed only three hits over the next seven innings.
Manager Dusty Baker looked drained after a game that lasted 4 hours, 11 minutes, the Cardinals' longest of the season.
"I don't sound happy because I'm just tired," Baker said. "That was a two-game game. We couldn't go five (games) back."
Bruce drew a leadoff walk and Drew Stubbs singled with one out ahead of the hit by Hernandez off Raul Valdes (0-1).
"I was just looking for something to hit, period," Hernandez said. "I was trying to get something good on the bat. As long as you hit the ball, you've got a chance that something happens."
Matt Holliday homered for the third time in two games and Albert Pujols had an RBI single in a five-run seventh for the Cardinals. Pujols was 1 for 6 in his first game since returning a month ahead of the timetable from a broken left wrist and was impressed by the comeback.
"That was awesome, man," Pujols said. "For us to be the winning team you're going to have to do things like that. We're not going to give up."
Jon Jay homered in the ninth off Francisco Cordero to force extra innings, only the third blown save in 20 chances for the Reds closer. Daniel Descalso, who matched his career high with four hits and had two RBIs, started at third base, moved to second on a double-switch in the 11th and back to third in the 13th for St. Louis.
"We're down 8-0, it's hard to come back from that in Little League, let alone the big leagues," Descalso said. "We did a good job of hanging in there. You can't ask anymore than that."
Jose Arredondo (1-3) allowed two hits and struck out two in two innings for the Reds, who had lost four of five. Aroldis Chapman allowed a hit before finishing for his first career save and hit 100 mph on the scoreboard radar on a called third strike to Jay that ended it. Heisey hit his second career leadoff home run to spark a reconfigured lineup that produced five runs in the first 12 pitches against Jake Westbrook, who barely made it out of the first one start after throwing seven shutout innings against Tampa Bay. Westbrook was charged with seven runs in 4 1-3 innings.
"I put us in a huge hole the first five hitters of the game," Westbrook said. "I kind of told myself after that first inning to kind of try to be my own long guy and try to get as deep as I can and not give up any more."
Arroyo faced the minimum through five innings, allowing only Descalso's borderline infield single in the third before fading. Descalso barely beat the pitcher to the bag after first baseman Joey Votto's high, looping throw, and official scorer Gary Mueller upheld the call not long before Tony Cruz doubled to open the sixth for St. Louis' second hit.
"Why would anyone want to talk to me?" Arroyo joked. "It was yesterday that I pitched, wasn't it?"
NOTES: Westbrook had no strikeouts for the second time this season, the other time was June 12 at Milwaukee when he gave up four runs in five innings. He had been 6-1 with a 3.93 ERA in 10 previous night starts this season. ... Cardinals reliever Brandon Dickson singled off Arroyo in the seventh on the first pitch he faced in the majors. ... Jonny Gomes is 0 for 13 as a pinch-hitter after striking out in the 11th. ... Cordero had converted eight straight save chances and allowed one earned run in his previous 13 innings. ... Arroyo has allowed five or more earned runs eight times this season. ... Chapman has five scoreless outings in six appearances since coming off the DL from a shoulder injury June 24. ... Holliday has homered in consecutive games for the first time since July 20-21, 2010, against the Phillies.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)