Spencer Steer launched an early two-run homer and scored the winning run for the Reds. Ian Gibaut (4-1) struck out two in a hitless 10th to keep it tied.
“We grinded that one out," Senzel said. "The goal was to just get it in the air, a groundball was no good there. He (Ryan Helsley) is so hard to hit. He’s one of the best in the game. He just left a pitch a little bit higher up than his previous pitch.”
Paul DeJong homered and drove in four runs for the Cardinals, who had won 11 of 14 since a 10-24 start.
St. Louis had the bases loaded in the ninth and two runners aboard in the 10th, but failed to score.
“We had several opportunities, just couldn't come up with some big hits,” manager Oliver Marmol said.
Steer began the bottom of the 10th as the automatic runner at second base. He advanced to third on a wild pitch by Helsley (2-3) and scored on Senzel's deep fly to right field.
“The dirt-ball read by Spencer to get us to third made it tough on the defense," Reds manager David Bell said. “Then Nick had a good at-bat there. Credit to the bullpen. So many guys came through to win the game.”
Cincinnati jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first on an RBI double by Matt McLain and an RBI single by Tyler Stephenson.
DeJong hit a three-run homer off rookie left-hander Brandon Williamson in the second. It was DeJong’s fourth homer in six games.
Williamson made his second career appearance after an impressive debut Tuesday at Coors Field when he retired 14 consecutive batters in a no-decision.
In the third, Steer’s two-run homer off left-hander Jordan Montgomery put the Reds back ahead.
“It's tough to keep the ball in the park here,” Montgomery said. “I tried to keep them on the ground. Tonight was just grindy.”
Montgomery is winless in his past eight appearances.
“His pitch count was kind of up there tonight,” Marmol said. “Not the type of finish with his pitches. Didn't look as crisp as he has.”
Pinch-hitter Lars Nootbaar tied it 4-all with an RBI double in the fifth.
The Reds took a 5-4 lead in the bottom half on a run-scoring groundout by Wil Myers. St. Louis tied it in the eighth when Nolan Gorman doubled to extend his career-best hitting streak to 12 games and scored on DeJong’s double.
The Reds held a moment of silence before the game to honor longtime Cardinals broadcaster Mike Shannon and St. Louis Post-Dispatch writer Rick Hummel. Shannon died April 29. Hummel, who covered the Cardinals and Major League Baseball for five decades before retiring last year, died at his home on Saturday following a brief, aggressive illness.
The Reds also placed a rose at a seat in the press box for Hummel and Shannon. Marmol wore his No. 37 jersey without a hoodie in tribute to Hummel, who disliked it when managers were not in uniform.
“Once I got the phone call (about Hummel), I wanted to make sure I wore it,” Marmol said. “When we were struggling, he sent some encouraging texts. Super grateful for the time he spent with me.”
Reds: 1B Joey Votto (shoulder surgery) continues to take live batting practice but isn’t ready to resume his minor league rehab assignment. ... RHP Connor Overton (right elbow strain) had a setback in his rehab and will undergo exploratory surgery on Tuesday.
RHP Graham Ashcraft (2-2, 4.84 ERA) has produced five of the Reds’ eight quality starts. He’ll face Cardinals RHP Adam Wainwright (1-0, 5.74), who is four wins shy of 200 for his career.
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