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  Saturday, May 6 1:15pm ET
Drew's two-run homer wins it for Cards

CINCINNATI (AP) -- For once, Darryl Kile was smiling in Cincinnati.

J.D. Drew hit a two-run homer in the seventh inning and the St. Louis bullpen finished what Kile started so impressively Saturday, preserving the Cardinals' 3-1 victory over the Reds.

Craig Paquette and  J. D. Drew
J.D. Drew, right, is congratulated by Craig Paquette after hitting a two-run homer in the seventh inning.

Drew's homer off Rob Bell (2-2) broke open a matchup of stingy starters and saved Kile from yet another heartbreak in a stadium where he's rarely successful.

Kile (6-1) allowed five hits in 6 2/3 innings for his fourth straight win, but only the second of his career in Cincinnati. He was 1-4 with a 6.83 ERA in his eight previous games at Cinergy Field and hadn't beaten the Reds since July 5, 1997.

Kile readily admitted that luck had something to do with it.

"It was just one of those games where they probably missed some pitches that they should have hit and normally do, our defense was awesome and our bullpen was great," said Kile, 4-7 overall against the Reds.

Kile and three relievers kept Cincinnati's slumping lineup in check for another afternoon. Ken Griffey Jr. (.211 batting average) doubled in four at-bats, Dante Bichette remained without a homer since April 8 and Sean Casey's slump deepened to 4-for-32.

"When you don't get many runs, there's no margin for error," Reds manager Jack McKeon said. "Everything gets magnified. You can't make any mistakes."

Bell made the decisive one.

Craig Paquette doubled just inside third base with one out in the seventh and Drew hit the Cardinals' 65th homer -- most in the majors -- for a 2-0 lead.

Bell, called up from Double-A to be the Reds' fifth starter, went to a 2-2 count to Drew before throwing his best pitch, the curve. This one wasn't one of his best.

"It was late in the game and both pitchers were doing a great job," Drew said. "The pitch was a little up. I was just trying to put it in play."

The waist-high breaking ball was about the only bad one that Bell threw out of his 99 overall.

"With a 2-2 count and first base open and the catcher up next, I just wanted to be aggressive and throw a curve," Bell said. "I think everybody knew it was coming. That's my bread-and-butter pitch."

The Cardinals added an unearned run in the eighth when Edgar Renteria's grounder went through the legs of third baseman Aaron Boone for a two-base error, Dennys Reyes threw a wild pitch and Larry Sutton had a sacrifice fly.

Dmitri Young's run-scoring groundout off Mike Mohler ended the shutout in the eighth. Dave Veres relieved with one out and runners on first and third, then got Bichette to hit into a double play.

Veres finished for his sixth save in seven chances.

It reminded Cardinals manager Tony La Russa of the series opener on Friday, when Griffey's solo homer in the sixth inning sent the Reds to a 3-2 win.

"Two very similar games," La Russa said. "Good pitching both times and somebody steps up and is the hero offensively."

Mark McGwire, who hit the longest homer in stadium history on Friday night, was allowed to miss the game to take care of a personal matter. He's expected back for Sunday's game.

Griffey made the defensive play of the game in the fourth. With Renteria on first, Jim Edmonds it a high fly that Griffey timed perfectly and grabbed as his glove slapped the yellow pad atop the wall, snatching away an extra-base hit.

Young extended his hitting streak to a career-high 14 games with an infield single in the sixth. His soft grounder to the hole at shortstop stuck in the web of Renteria's glove.

Game notes
Fernando Vina hit the first pitch of the game off the wall in right-center but was thrown out trying to stretch it into a triple, with Griffey throwing to second baseman Pokey Reese, who made the relay. ... Edmonds was 0-for-2 with a pair of walks, ending his hitting streak at seven games. He made his third start of the season in place of McGwire at first base. ... The Reds put right-hander Pete Harnisch on the disabled list, two days after he lasted only one-third of an inning in a 14-1 loss in Philadelphia. A test detected weakness in the back of his shoulder, and he's expected to be out for three or four weeks. ... The Reds don't need another starter until next Saturday. Osvaldo Fernandez is the leading candidate for a call-up from Triple-A. ... The Reds gave out 10,000 Pokey Bears, named for their Gold Glove second baseman.


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