Matthew Liberatore (3-5) struck out three over 1 1/3 innings to earn the win.
Nolan Arenado had three hits and scored twice for the Cardinals, who won for the fourth time in five games.
The Cardinals (62-79), in the rare role of spoiler, scored three runs in the first and three more in the third off Cincinnati starter Andrew Abbott (8-5). All six runs came home thanks to rallies that started with two outs and no runners on base.
Hunter Renfroe hit his 20th homer, his first with the Reds (73-70), who finished 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position and stranded 12 runners. Cincinnati took its second consecutive defeat and lost ground in the race for the third and final National League wild card.
In the first, St. Louis’ Paul Goldschmidt worked a two-out walk before Nolan Arenado reached on an infield single to third. Contreras then crushed a Abbott pitch 440 feet halfway up the upper deck in left for a 3-0 St. Louis lead. It was his 18th homer of the season.
The Cardinals doubled their lead two innings later when rookie Luken Baker doubled in three runs with a liner just inside the third base bag and down the left field line.
It was the third time in four starts Abbott didn’t complete the fifth inning. The rookie left-hander — who was 4-0 with a 1.21 ERA through his first six major league starts — allowed six runs on four hits in four innings. He walked three and struck out three.
Down 6-0, the Reds began chipping away with three in the third against St. Louis left-handed starter Drew Rom, who played his high school baseball across the river in Fort Thomas, Ky.
Renfroe belted a two-run homer, his first since joining the Reds on Aug. 31 off waivers from the Los Angeles Angels. One out later, Nick Senzel clubbed a solo shot to left-center, his 11th of the year, to cut the deficit to 6-3.
The Reds inched closer in the fourth when Marte came home as part of a double steal with Spencer Steer. Rom allowed four runs on seven hits in 3 2/3 innings. He walked two without fanning a batter.
—Field Level Media
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