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Reds fire manager, blast Cardinals 11-4
CINCINNATI -- The Cincinnati Reds brought fireworks back to Great American Ball Park on Tuesday night.
Backup catcher Javier Valentin drove in four runs with a three-run homer and a bases-loaded walk to help the Reds to an 11-4 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals in Jerry Narron's debut as interim manager.
The Reds celebrate every victory with a fireworks display, but there haven't been many this year.
Narron, Dave Miley's bench coach since the start of the 2004 season, was promoted earlier Tuesday when Miley was fired, along with pitching coach Don Gullett, after the Reds' 27-43 start.
"We had a lot of things that didn't go well for us," the soft-spoken Narron said. "These guys are due for a good stretch."
Joe Randa hit a solo homer and Felipe Lopez doubled with the bases loaded to back Brandon Claussen (4-4), who allowed seven hits and three earned runs in six innings.
St. Louis starter Jason Marquis (8-5) gave up seven hits and 10 runs -- a career high, but only six were earned -- in 2 1-3 innings.
"He was trying to get the ball down, and he got it up," St. Louis manager Tony La Russa said. "And he was getting too much of the plate."
Cincinnati had 12 hits after being held to four in Miley's last game, a 6-1 loss to the Cardinals on Monday night.
St. Louis had won four straight and seven of 10. Cincinnati had lost seven of 10.
Reds players were careful not to blame Miley and Gullett for their woeful record. But some acknowledged a somewhat different atmosphere.
"Anytime change comes, it brings a different feeling," first baseman Sean Casey said. "That's only human."
Valentin said the Reds seemed more resolute.
"We can feel the difference," Valentin said. "We want to do better. We know we can do better."
Second baseman Rich Aurilia said he felt no obvious change in the locker room atmosphere.
"It wasn't a surprise what was going to happen," Aurilia said. "We were just in the dark."
An RBI single by Casey gave Cincinnati a run in the first, but St. Louis took a 3-1 lead the next inning on an RBI single by So Taguchi, a sacrifice fly by Yadier Molina and an RBI single by Marquis.
Claussen walked the first two hitters to start the inning, and Taguchi's single caromed off Claussen's leg into short right field. It was starting to look like Narron's Reds were very much like the Reds under Miley.
Then Randa led off the bottom of the inning with his 11th homer, Adam Dunn walked and Wily Mo Pena doubled down the left field line. Valentin, who gets limited playing time, hit a three-run homer, his third, to make it 5-3.
Albert Pujols doubled, stole third and scored the Cardinals' final run in the third when Valentin couldn't hold on to Dunn's throw from left field on Reggie Sanders' fly out.
Cincinnati followed with a five-run third, with Lopez' double the big blow off reliever Brad Thompson. The Reds added a final run in the sixth on an RBI single by Aurilia.