Stl 0 0 0 1 0 0 3 0 1 5
Cin 2 0 0 1 4 0 0 2 X 9
Date of game: 9/9/2014

St. Louis Cardinals (80-64) at Cincinnati Reds (67-77), 7:10 p.m. (ET)

(SportsNetwork.com) - These days, the Cincinnati Reds are little more than a speed bump.

The St. Louis Cardinals have beaten them six times in a row and will aim to make it seven on Tuesday night when they return for game two of a four-game series with the hosts at Great American Ball Park.

The Cardinals have won nine of their last 10 games to stretch a first-place margin in the National League's Central Division to 4 1/2 games over the Pittsburgh Pirates. The offense is hitting at a combined .292 clip in those 10 games, while the pitching staff has posted a 1.89 earned run average in the nine triumphs.

St. Louis won the series opener on Monday, 5-0.

"Everything is clicking right now," first baseman Matt Adams said. "Our starting pitching is just unbelievable right now, and our offense is doing what it's capable of doing."

The Cardinals have hit .319, scored 33 runs and registered a 1.96 ERA in the last six against the Reds, and they enter Tuesday with a chance to win seven in a row in the series for the first time since 1980-81.

Michael Wacha gets the ball for St. Louis in his second outing since a stint on the disabled list with a shoulder problem.

He threw 50 pitches in three innings on Thursday against Milwaukee and allowed a run and three hits. In three career starts against the Reds, he's 1-0 with a 0.48 ERA. And in two trips to Cincinnati, he's not allowed a run in 12 2/3 innings.

On the road elsewhere in 2014, though, he's 0-5 in eight starts.

The Reds have hit .219 as a team while winning just seven of their last 26 games, while the pitching staff has posted a 4.78 ERA.

Mike Leake gets the start after he was bludgeoned for seven runs in four innings of the team's 9-7 loss at Baltimore on Thursday. In his previous two starts, he'd allowed no runs in 13 2/3 innings.

The Cardinals have been a long-time nemesis for Leake, beating him five times in eight games in Cincinnati while he's recorded a 6.75 ERA. He came out on the short end of a 4-0 decision on May 25 in his last home meeting with St. Louis.

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