CINCINNATI — Joey Votto snapped out of a slump, and so did the Cincinnati Reds.
Votto tied a career best with four hits and scored the go-ahead run on pinch-hitter Chris Heisey's ninth-inning single, capping a comeback from a three-run deficit and leading the Reds over the St. Louis Cardinals 4-3 on Wednesday.
The Reds avoided a three-game sweep by the defending World Series champions, who won just one of six games in Cincinnati last season. The Reds went 3-3 on their opening homestand and headed off for an 11-day, 10-game trip.
"I don't think salvage is a fair word," said Votto, who entered with a .188 average. "We're just trying to find some momentum. It would've been pretty frustrating to go on the road if we hadn't won this game. The Cardinals played well. They've got a good team. They won the World Series. We've got a lot of work ahead of us, and they're certainly in the way."
Votto doubled off Marc Rzepczynski (0-1) leading off the ninth for the 10th four-hit game of his career. Ryan Ludwick was intentionally walked, Jay Bruce struck out, Fernando Salas relieved and Heisey lined a single to left.
Heisey's hit was Cincinnati's 14th. The Reds came in batting .201, and Manager Dusty Baker said he was confident his offense would pick up.
"You just don't know when they're going to start hitting the ball," Baker said. "It was sure nice to see them come around today. That was a big win for us to end the homestand well and not get too far behind. I know it's early, but you don't want to get too far behind."
Aroldis Chapman (2-0), groomed as a starter during spring training before injuries forced the Reds to keep him in the bullpen, struck out five in two scoreless innings.
"I feel great," Chapman said through an interpreter. "I prefer to be a starter, but they decided to put me back in the bullpen, and I'm happy with that. That's my job — to hold the other team and let my team get back in the game."
Reds starter Johnny Cueto gave up three runs and seven hits in five innings.
Down 3-0 in the third against Jaime Garcia, the Reds tied the score in the fifth. Garcia, 6-1 against the Reds, allowed three runs and 11 hits in 42⁄3 innings.
St. Louis took a 3-0 lead in the third on Garcia's two-out single, Rafael Furcal's RBI triple into the right-field corner and Jon Jay's two-run homer, his first home run this season.
Votto doubled in a run in the third, when Garcia escaped a two-on, no-outs jam by striking out Ryan Ludwick and Jay Bruce, then retiring Miguel Cairo on a groundout. Votto's double gave the Reds seven hits, matching their total in the first two games of the series.
Bruce's sacrifice fly and Wilson Valdez's run-scoring bunt single tied the score in the fifth.