ST. LOUIS — Tyler Holt made his manager look smart Tuesday night.
An inning after entering the game in a triple switch, Holt doubled home the game-winning run as the Reds beat the St. Louis Cardinals 7-4.
"I've been searching for something like that for a long time," Holt said. "To hit the ball flush like that is pretty encouraging."
Holt's double off Matt Bowman (1-4) broke a 4-4 tie in the eighth. He then scored from second on an infield hit by Billy Hamilton after Cardinals second baseman Matt Carpenter bobbled a barehanded attempt to get the speedy Hamilton at first.
"Holt runs the bases better than a lot of people I know," Hamilton said. "He hustles. He's going to give you 100 percent every time he's on the field."
Reds manager Bryan Price said Holt's appearance was more of a necessity than a stroke of genius. Scott Schebler's calf started tightening up after getting hit by a pitch and second baseman Brandon Phillips was dealing with a tight quad making Holt and Ivan De Jesus' substitutions "a no-brainer."
"It just played out well," Price said. "It was certainly no genius; it was just some good fortune."
Adam Duvall's two-run single in the third broke a career high 0-for-18 skid and gave the Reds a 2-1 lead.
Joey Votto had two hits, an RBI and a walk and has hit safely in 18 of his last 19 games.
Reds lefty Brandon Finnegan struck out five, but walked six in six innings. Michael Lorenzen (2-0) gave up a run in two innings of relief and Raisel Iglesias picked up his first major league save.
"We've had a lot of beer showers at the end of a win with guys getting their first hit or their first save or their first win," Price said. "And that's the fun part of youth."
Yadier Molina's solo home run in the second inning broke a career-high 13-inning scoreless streak for Finnegan. It also extended Molina's streak for reaching base safely to 22 games.
Matt Holliday's solo homer in the fifth tied the game 3-3.
"Had a couple opportunities to get big hits to so it was just one of those nights where they outlasted us and we gave up a little on the back side which is pretty atypical for us," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said.
Cardinals right-hander Mike Leake failed to record a clean frame in six innings, surrendering a season-high four walks. Still, the three runs allowed were a much better showing than his two previous starts against his former club when he gave up six and seven runs, respectively.
Highly touted prospect Alex Reyes made his Cardinals debut in the ninth. The right-hander's fastball topped out at 101 mph twice in a perfect frame that included a strikeout of Duvall.
"It was electric," Price said. "They've got another good one."
RUN BILLY RUN
Hamilton stole three bases and he has nine steals in his past three games. He has more stolen bases (48) than the Reds have wins (46).
"My main job is getting on base," Hamilton said. "I got picked off today and a bunch of guys would have shut it down after that. That's something I feel comfortable in. I'm going to come out next time and get you."
Reds: RHP Alfredo Simon (right trapezius) and RHP A.J. Morris (strained right shoulder) will continue their rehab assignment Wednesday at Triple-A Louisville. Simon is scheduled to pitch two innings and Morris one.
Cardinals: RHP Michael Wacha (strained right shoulder) was placed on the DL and Reyes was promoted from Triple-A Memphis.
Reds: RHP Anthony DeSclafani (6-0, 2.94 ERA) is coming off a no-decision against Pittsburgh in which he gave up two runs in six innings. Last season, he became the first Reds rookie since Ewell Blackwell in 1946 to face St. Louis in consecutive starts and win them both.
Cardinals: LHP Jaime Garcia (8-8, 4.04) is coming off eight shutout innings in a 1-0 win over Atlanta. He drove in the lone run of that game with a single and allowed just three hits.