CINCINNATI — The St. Louis Cardinals want leadoff batter Matt Carpenter to drive the ball. He sure did Sunday.
Carpenter hit a two-run homer off Kevin Gregg in the 11th inning, lifting St. Louis over Cincinnati 7-5 in a game that featured the major league debut of Cuban right-hander Raisel Iglesias for the Reds.
Carpenter's 392-foot drive to center on a full-count pitch from Gregg (0-1) followed Kolten Wong's single and delighted Cardinals' manager Mike Matheny.
"We've talked to him about utilizing his power," Matheny said. "You're going to see that from him from time to time."
Carpenter's go-ahead drive followed Jhonny Peralta's two-run, tying homer in the eighth off of Jumbo Diaz, which quieted the crowd of 41,446, Cincinnati's third sellout of the six-game homestand.
"That was huge," Carpenter said. "He's been swinging the bat well all season."
Carlos Villanueva (1-0) pitched two innings, working out of a bases-loaded jam in the 10th by striking out Todd Frazier. St. Louis took two of three in the series and has won 13 consecutive three-game series against Cincinnati, putting a damper on a homestand that opened with four consecutive wins and frustrating second-year manager Bryan Price.
"It was a nice homestand but today was a game we should have won," said Price, who joined the team in 2010 as pitching coach. "Since I've been here, the Cardinals has been a team that has beaten us. At the end of the World Series, no one cares how many times you beat a certain team, but to reverse that, yes, it's important to me."
Iglesias allowed three runs and five hits in five innings with two walks and four strikeouts. Signed last July to a $27 million, seven-year contract, he became the first Reds player since Mike Leake in 2010 to reach the majors without playing a minor league game.
Iglesias gave up two hits and a walk through the first four innings, then fell behind 3-1 in the fifth. Yadier Molina doubled leading off, and Carpenter hit a two-run single and scored from first on Jason Heyward's double into the right-field corner. Heyward was thrown out trying to stretch his hit into a triple, with second baseman Brandon Phillips making the relay after Jay Bruce's throw.
St. Louis starter Carlos Martinez struck out a career-high eight in six innings, giving up two runs and four hits.
Bruce led off the second with his second homer of the season and Billy Hamilton cut the Cardinals' lead to 3-2 in the sixth with his first homer.
Frazier had a two-run single and Phillips followed with an RBI hit to give Cincinnati a 5-3 lead in the seventh.
The Reds varied their starting eight for the first time this season, with Brennan Boesch replacing Marlon Byrd in left field and Brayan Pena taking over for Devin Mesoraco at catcher. Pena was the last position player to play for the first time this season. Byrd and Mesoraco both were 2-for-20 (.100) in the first five games.
Reds manager Bryan Price was ejected by crew chief Joe West in the top of the eighth after Jon Jay was hit by a pitch. The ejection was the third for Price, who is in his second season as manager.
Cardinals: Catcher Tony Cruz was expected to rejoin the team in St. Louis on Sunday night. Cruz started paternity leave Friday.
Reds: Catcher Brayan Pena left the game in the seventh after injuring his left shoulder in a fall at first base while beating out a leadoff bunt.
Cardinals: Adam Wainwright will pitch for the first time in eight days when he starts St. Louis's home opener on Monday against Milwaukee. The right-hander's second start of the season was pushed back by last Tuesday's rainout in Chicago.
Reds: The Reds get their first look at under-renovation Wrigley Field when they open their first trip of the season on Monday in Chicago. Mike Leake is 4-0 with a 1.71 ERA in his last four starts against the Cubs.
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