The Reds avoided a sweep here with a tidy, 4-0 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday afternoon.

All it took was some power from Devin Mesoraco, some daredevil base-running and hits from Billy Hamilton and one fine outing by Mike Leake. The Reds have lost six straight series in St. Louis but they have not been swept in any of them.

That looked like a real possibility after losing the first two. Leake came into the game 2-4 with a 5.90 ERA against the Cardinals. He had allowed 12 earned runs in 11 1/3 innings against them in his last two starts.

He was brilliant Wednesday, however. He went eight shutout innings. He allowed four hits, walked one and struck out three. He did not allow a runner to reach second base until the seventh inning.

Hamilton started the game with a triple. The Reds failed to get him in. Brandon Phillips struck out swinging, Joey Votto took a called third strike and Jay Bruce grounded out.

The Reds got it going in the fourth. Chris Heisey singled with two outs. Three pitches later, Mesoraco hit a 93 mph fastball into the seats in left for his first home run of the year.

Hamilton manufactured a run with his speed in the fifth. He led off with a single. He stole second, his first steal of the year. He advanced to third on Phillips' fly out to shallow right. Hamilton scored on Bruce's fly out to even shallower right, so shallow that no other runner likely attempts. Hamilton was safe easily.