Salvador Perez and Franchy Cordero each hit two homers and drove in five runs Wednesday night, and the out-of-contention Kansas City Royals got a solid start from Danny Duffy while pummeling the playoff-chasing St. Louis Cardinals 12-3 in their series finale.
The Cardinals (27-26) remain 3 1/2 games back of first-place Chicago in the NL Central after the Cubs lost to Pittsburgh, but their edge for the No. 2 spot in the division was nearly wiped out. The Reds (29-28) beat the Brewers (27-28) in their series finale to close within percentage points of St. Louis headed toward a pivotal final weekend.
Both of Perez's homers came off Carlos Martinez (0-3), who departed with a strained lower back with two runners on and nobody out in the sixth. Seth Elledge inherited a 1-0 count against Cordero, who had just returned from a wrist injury, and he crushed his first homer of the year two pitches later to extend the Kansas City lead.
Cordero added a solo shot off Kodi Whitley in the seventh for his second career multi-homer game.
Duffy (4-4) allowed Dexter Fowler's single in the fifth inning and loaded the bases in the sixth, but reliever Scott Barlow retired pinch-hitter Brad Miller to preserve a 6-1 lead. The Royals' bullpen handled the Cardinals the rest of the way to give Kansas City its first rubber-game win in six tries this season.
Cincinnati has three games left against Minnesota, while the weary Cardinals face Milwaukee. If needed to settle who is in the playoffs or home-field advantage, the Cardinals also could have two makeup games against Detroit on Monday.
Kwang Hyun Kim (2-0, 1.59 ERA) starts against the Brewers on Thursday night at Busch Stadium.