CINCINNATI -- Dexter Fowler delivered again, hitting two doubles and a single as the St. Louis Cardinals overcame Scott Schebler's two home runs to beat the Cincinnati Reds 8-5 Thursday night for a three-game sweep.
The Cardinals began the day 2 1/2 games behind Colorado for the second NL wild-card spot and five games behind the Central-leading Chicago Cubs.
Fowler drove in two runs. He went 7 for 13 with two home runs and six RBI in the series.
Yadier Molina drove in two runs as the Cardinals completed their first sweep in Cincinnati since 2010.
Carlos Martinez (12-11) lasted 6 1/3 innings on a muggy night with a gametime temperature of 85 degrees, allowing four runs and nine hits.
Martinez improved to 3-1 in his last four starts. He gave up Phillip Ervin's two-run homer in the fourth and a drive by Schebler in the seventh.
Schebler led off the ninth with a homer, his 29th of the season.
Homer Bailey (5-9) became the third consecutive Reds starter to be lifted without getting through five innings. He gave up four runs on seven hits and two walks in four innings.
Fowler doubled and scored on Jose Martinez's single in the first, then hit a two-run double over Ervin's head in center in the third and later scored on Molina's sacrifice fly.
Molina added an RBI double in the seventh.
Cardinals: 1B Jose Martinez returned to the lineup after missing Wednesday's game while nursing a sore left thumb.
Reds: Hopes that C Devin Mesoraco might be able to squeeze in some pinch-hit at-bats before the end of the season were dashed as his fractured left foot hasn't healed quickly enough.
Cardinals: RHP Michael Wacha (12-8) allowed five hits with no walks and seven strikeouts over eight innings in his last start against Pittsburgh, a 7-0 win on Sept. 10. He starts when St. Louis visits the Pirates on Friday night.
Reds: RHP Sal Romano (5-6) allowed five hits with no walks and six strikeouts over eight shutout innings in his last start, a 2-1 win over Pittsburgh on last Saturday. He'll pitch against the visiting Red Sox on Friday night.
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