St. Louis takes down Cincy in a close one

Albert Pujols and Jim Edmonds hit two-runs homers, and pinch-runner Reggie Sanders scored the go-ahead run in the ninth inning on Joe Valentine’s wild pitch to lead the St. Louis Cardinals over the Cincinnati Reds 6-5 last night.

St. Louis, which overcame a 5-2 deficit, improved the best road record in the major leagues to 41-20, beating Cincinnati for the 14th time in 18 games this season.

With the score 5-all, Mike Matheny led off the ninth with a flair that was just out of reach of right fielder Austin Kearns and fell for a single.

Sanders came in to run, and Valentine (1-2) loaded the bases with two-out walks to Roger Cedeno and Larry Walker. With Pujols at the plate, Valentine bounced a pitch out of the reach of catcher Jason LaRue.

Julian Tavarez (6-4), the loser in Tuesday’s 10-inning Cincinnati win, pitched one-third of an inning for the victory. Tavarez is pitching while appealing a 10-day suspension announced Tuesday by the commissioner’s office, which said he had applied a foreign substance to baseballs last Friday against Pittsburgh.

Jason Isringhausen pitched the ninth for his 36th save in 42 chances.

Adam Dunn and D’Angelo Jimenez hit solo homers for Cincinnati. Jimenez went 4-for-4, tying a career-high for hits.

Cardinals starter Woody Williams allowed five runs and eight hits in six innings, while Reds starter Luke Hudson gave up two runs and four hits in six innings.

Pujols hit his 39th homer in the first inning, a two-run drive that followed Walker’s single and gave him 98 RBIs. But the Reds tied it on Hudson’s run-scoring single in the second — his first career hit and RBI — and Jimenez’s RBI double in the third.

Cincinnati took a 5-2 lead in the sixth on Dunn’s 37th homer, Jimenez’s 10th and Felipe Lopez’s run-scoring sacrifice bunt.