Game Report: Cardinals 8, Reds 5

Dexter Fowler could be picking the right time to get hot.

Fowler had his fourth consecutive multiple-RBI game on Thursday night, driving in two runs to help the Cardinals complete a sweep of their three-game series against the Reds in Cincinnati.

The win, combined with the Rockies’ 3-0 loss in San Diego, left the Cardinals just 1 ½ games behind Colorado in the race for the second wild-card spot. The Cubs won 5-3 over the Brewers in 10 innings in Milwaukee to remain five games ahead of the Cardinals in the NL Central.

The Cardinals have 10 games left in the regular season.

Over the last five games, Fowler has 11 hits in 21 at-bats with three homers and nine RBIs.

Here is how the game broke down:

At the plate: Fowler had three of the Cardinals’ 14 hits, including two doubles, and drove in two runs with his third-inning double … Yadier Molina also drove in two runs with a sacrifice fly and a double, giving him a new career-best 82 RBIs for the season. He has driven in 22 runs in 18 games this month, establishing a career high for his most RBIs in any month in his career. His previous high was 21 RBIs in August 2015 … Jose Martinez and Kolten Wong each had two hits and an RBI while Tommy Pham reached base four times on two hits and two walks.

On the mound:
Carlos Martinez worked 6 1/3 innings, allowing four runs on nine hits, before getting help from the bullpen to earn his 12th win of the season … Tyler Lyons struck out four of the nine hitters he faced, walking two, in 1 2/3 innings before Zach Duke pitched the ninth to close out the Cardinals’ first sweep of a three-game series in Cincinnati since 2010.

Key stat:
This is the second time this season Fowler has driven in two or more runs in four consecutive games. He also did it between June 15 and June 18, when he homered in four consecutive games. Over the last five games he has raised his batting average from .255 to .270 as he established new career highs in homers and RBIs.

Worth noting: This was the first time the Cardinals scored eight or more runs in each game of a three-game series in Cincinnati since June 11-13, 1973 … A report out of Montreal on Thursday said the Cardinals will play the Toronto Blue Jays in two exhibition games in Montreal to close out spring training next year. The games will be on March 26 and 27, according to the report, before the Cardinals open the regular season on March 29 in New York. Those games have not been announced by the Cardinals … The Cardinals brought back Breyvic Valera from Memphis on Thursday, giving them 37 players on the active roster. The only healthy players on the 40-man roster who were not called up from the minors are pitchers Mike Mayers and Rowan Wick and infielder Edmundo Sosa.

Looking ahead: The Cardinals begin their final road series of the year Friday night in Pittsburgh. Michael Wacha will pitch against Ivan Nova.