Originally posted on Fox Sports Midwest  |  Last updated 8/25/12
CINCINNATI (AP) -- Brandon Phillips hit his first home run in August, Mike Leake pitched effectively into the seventh inning and the Cincinnati Reds beat the St. Louis Cardinals 8-2 on Saturday to strengthen their hold on the top spot in the NL Central. Phillips and Ryan Ludwick had three hits apiece and Jay Bruce added a two-run homer as Cincinnati regained a seven-game lead over second-place St. Louis, which rallied to win the series opener 8-5 on Friday night. Leake (6-8) allowed at least one hit in every inning except one, but kept the Cardinals mostly at bay. Leake, who also had two hits, lasted 6 2-3 innings, allowing 10 hits and two runs. Cincinnati grabbed control with three runs in the sixth inning. Phillips led off with a double down the right-field line and advanced on Ludwick's single to right. Phillips scored when Todd Frazier beat out a potential double-play grounder, and Bruce followed with a 432-foot drive to right for his team-best 27th homer. The Reds added four more in the seventh after Brandon Dickson retired the first two batters of the inning. Phillips drove a full-count pitch just over the wall in right-center for his 14th homer and first since July 31 against San Diego. Scott Rolen's two-run single made it 7-2, and Dioner Navarro chipped in with an RBI single that dropped into left when Matt Holliday lost it in the sun.
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