ST. LOUIS (AP) — Johnny Cueto whiffed on a chance at becoming the majors' first 16-game winner.
"He's one of the best pitchers in baseball, but there's no excuses," Cincinnati Reds teammate Brandon Phillips said after the St. Louis Cardinals caught the right-hander on a rare vulnerable game and won 7-3 to complete a three-game sweep Wednesday night. "You can't have your 'A' game all the time."
Cueto (15-7) was off-kilter from the get-go, struggling with mechanics and the humidity in a game delayed by rain after the seventh. He allowed five runs in five-plus innings, and his seven-game winning streak ended.
"I did not have control or command of what I wanted to throw," Cueto said through an interpreter. "But those are nights you are going to have."
Lance Lynn beat Cincinnati for the third straight time and Jhonny Peralta hit a bases-clearing double for St. Louis.
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.
"He had a lot of deep counts and close misses early," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "He just labored."
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.
The Reds scored three times in the ninth, and Trevor Rosenthal got two outs for his 37th save in 42 chances.
Phillips got his first hit of the series, a single in the Reds seventh for the 1,500th of his career. Pinch-hitter Kris Negron had an RBI infield hit in the ninth.