ST. LOUIS — Facing Johnny Cueto definitely brought out the best in the Cardinals' Lance Lynn.
"It didn't hurt my feelings one bit beating him," the right-hander said after working seven scoreless innings against the 15-game winner in St. Louis' 7-3 victory over the Cincinnati Reds Wednesday night.
"You see all the leader boards and you see his name up at the top. I outpitched him tonight, so yeah."
Lynn beat Cincinnati for the third straight time and Jhonny Peralta hit a bases-clearing double for St. Louis.
Manager Mike Matheny said he'd anticipated seeing "how Lance bows his neck" against Cueto. "It's a great opportunity to show what you can do," the manager added.
Cueto (15-7) was off-kilter from the get-go and missed a chance to become the majors' first 16-game winner. He allowed five runs in five-plus innings, and his seven-game winning streak ended.
"He just labored," manager Bryan Price said. "We've come to expect him to be great every time and today just wasn't one of those times."
The Cardinals have won eight of nine and swept the Reds at home for the first time since Sept. 26-28, 2008. Cincinnati has lost 10 of 12, with Cueto getting the two wins.
Jon Jay had three hits, scored twice and was plunked by a pitch for the sixth time in six games for St. Louis. He is batting .514 (18 for 35) during a 12-game hitting streak, and has been hit by a pitch a majors-leading 16 times.
Lynn (14-8) gave up four singles and was set to pitch the eighth leading 5-0 before a 58-minute rain delay ended his outing.
"You always want to keep going," Lynn said. "For it to be ended by rain, that's never a great feeling. But we won the game, that's all that matters."
The Reds scored three times in the ninth, and Trevor Rosenthal got two outs for his 37th save in 42 chances.
Brandon Phillips got his first hit of the series, a single in the Reds seventh for the 1,500th of his career. Reds pinch hitters were 3 for 4 in a three-run ninth, including an RBI infield hit by Kris Negron.
Cueto had numerous mound conferences with catcher Brayan Pena and was pulled after walking Lynn on four pitches to load the bases with none out in the sixth. It wasn't particularly hot, 86 degrees for the first pitch, but the right-hander said humidity took a toll.
"I'm used to pitching with long sleeves and it was so wet and my hand was getting really slippery," Cueto said through a translator. "I could not grip the ball the way I wanted."
The weather didn't seem to bother Lynn.
"They were sweating, they both were," Matheny said of the starting pitchers. "But he just never looked like he was gassed at all."
Cueto had been 7-0 with a 2.24 ERA in his previous eight starts, including 3-0 this month. But matched his shortest outing of the year and season high with four walks, plus hit two batters.
Jay singled and scored on Matt Holliday's double in the third. Jay reached on a two-out infield hit in the fifth, leading to Peralta's three-run double.
Reds: RHP Carlos Contreras gave up two runs and got two outs in the eighth. He was taken out after a misstep on a pitch after play resumed, and Price had no immediate update after the game. ... Closer Aroldis Chapman missed the first two games with a sore left shoulder and played catch Wednesday.
Cardinals: C Yadier Molina, recovering from a torn ligament to his right thumb, took swings for the first time indoors. He's been throwing in pregame workouts for a few days.
Reds: Rookie LHP David Holmberg (0-0, 16.88) makes his second career start to open a four-game series Thursday at home against Atlanta.
Cardinals: After a day off, RHP Adam Wainwright (15-7, 2.40) will flip spots with Shelby Miller and start on regular rest Friday night at Philadelphia.