ST. LOUIS. - As the Reds drop out of the playoff race, they keep inventing new, painful ways to lose.
Jon Jay was hit by a pitch from J.J. Hoover with the bases-loaded in the ninth inning, lifting the Cardinals to a 5-4 win on Tuesday night.
Hoover (1-10) allowed a three-run walk-off homer to former Red Drew Stubbs in Colorado's 10-9 win over the Reds Sunday.
The Reds (61-65) lost in walk-off fashion for the second night in a row and third time in the last four games.
They have fallen 10 games behind the first-place Brewers, ensuring a meaningless September.
"(Two walk-offs) in a row isn't fun," third baseman Todd Frazier said. "It's crazy, I've never been around something like that. I never want to see it again."
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Frazier put the Reds in front 2-1, with a two-run homer in the fourth. It was his 21st home run of the season, but first since July 20.
Cincinnati scored twice in the sixth on a bases-loaded double by Ryan Ludwick. Errors by Matt Holliday and Matt Carpenter and a walk set the stage for Ludwick's hit, which pushed the Reds' lead to 4-1.
But the Reds' taxed bullpen was unable to hold the lead.
"Short starts have bit us on the tail this road trip," Cincinnati manager Bryan Price said. "It blows up the bullpen."
Reds starter Alfredo Simon, who had lost five straight decisions, gave up three runs and eight hits over 5 1-3 innings. He struck out two and walked one.
The Cardinals won for the fifth time in six games and remained 2 1/2 games behind Milwaukee in the NL Central.
Holliday drew a leadoff walk to start Tuesday's winning rally. He advanced to third on Matt Adams' single. After Peter Bourjos ran for Holliday, Jhonny Peralta walked to load the bases. Hoover then plunked Jay to force in Bourjos with the winning run.
"It's not like you hope to get hit by a pitch every time," Jay said. "But I'll take it."
Jay scored the tying run in the eighth on pinch-hitter Daniel Descalso's RBI double off reliever Jumbo Diaz.
"Call it whatever you want to call it, but we're just playing better baseball right now," Descalso said. "We've got down the last couple nights and we've come back. That's always a good sign."
Reliever Pat Neshek (6-0) pitched a scoreless ninth inning.
St. Louis starter John Lackey gave up four runs, two earned, in six innings. He struck out seven and walked one.
Peralta homered in the sixth to cut the deficit to 4-2. It was Peralta's 17th home run of the season, setting the single-season mark for a St. Louis shortstop. Jay and Oscar Taveras followed with hits before pinch-hitter Shane Robinson singled off reliever Sam LeCure to bring the Cardinals to 4-3.
"I feel like the last two nights have felt like playoff games," Adams said.
St. Louis took a 1-0 lead on a run-scoring single by Holliday in the third.
Reds: Closer Aroldis Chapman was unavailable Tuesday for the second night in a row with what manager Bryan Price called an, "achy," shoulder. The reliever is listed as day-to-day by the Reds training staff. Chapman has 26 saves in 28 chances. He walked four successive batters on Sunday in Colorado.
Cardinals: INF Mark Ellis was put on the 15-day disabled list with a left oblique strain. Ellis, who is hitting .192 with 12 RBI, last played on Tuesday. INF Greg Garcia was recalled from Triple-A Memphis in time for Tuesday's contest. Garcia was hitting .273 with 40 RBI in 103 games for the Redbirds.
JAY KEEPS ROLLING
St. Louis OF Jon Jay extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a single in the second, the first of two hits. He is 15 for 31 during the run and reached base four times Tuesday.
Reds: RHP Johnny Cueto (15-6, 2.06) will start the final game of the three-game set. Cueto is 7-0 with a 2.24 ERA over his last eight starts. His seven-game winning streak is a career high.
Cardinals: RHP Lance Lynn (13-8, 2.91) will make his team-leading 26th start of the season. He is 5-1 lifetime against the Reds