Last night's lede from Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post Dispatch:
CINCINNATI — If the Cardinals needed another painful reminder that this season will be less forgiving than their last two, Wednesday night at Great American Ball Park provided an open-handed slap to the face.
Afforded leads of 4-0, 6-3 and 7-6, a team that closed with precision in 2004 and 2005 again fell badly.
The second-place Cincinnati Reds -- the Team That Won't Go Away -- took Chris Carpenter's start and Jason Isringhausen's finish and transformed them into something inspirational.
When catcher David Ross launched a two-run, ninth-inning home run to center field some 442 feet away, it provided the Reds an 8-7 win, a sellout crowd of 41,649 another excuse to believe and the 61-52 Cardinals further proof that this is a grinding season.