CINCINNATI -- Ryan Franklin was dumbfounded.
As he watched Reds pitcher Micah Owings round the bases on his two-out, pinch-hit homer in the ninth, the previously perfect St. Louis closer was reminded that there's no margin for error at Great American Ball Park.
"That's an out anywhere else," Franklin said of the solo homer that barely cleared the left-field wall. "That's what happens."
All sorts of things happened on a very long day in Cincinnati.
The Reds hit five homers, including two solo shots in the ninth off Franklin (1-0) to tie it, but Colby Rasmus' double in the 10th inning sent St. Louis to an 8-7 victory Sunday that salvaged the final game of the series and left everyone agog over what had just happened.
"That was a blast," said Jay Bruce, who hit one of the Reds' five homers.
It was dramatic right down to the 401st and final pitch -- Paul Janish fouled out with the bases loaded to end it after 4 hours, 23 minutes.
"What a game," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. "Good luck asking me questions because I don't remember much of anything except a 1-2 slider that Janish popped up. I can't think of anything else that happened, really."
Everyone was a bit numb.
Coming into the series, St. Louis' staff had given up only 11 homers, the fewest in the majors. The Reds hit seven in the last two games, including those two in the ninth that got the crowd of 27,664 revved.
Jerry Hairston Jr. led off with a full-count homer. Owings, the Reds' fifth starter and one of their top pinch hitters, came to the plate with two outs, worked the count full, fouled off three pitches, then hit a slider for his first homer.
Owings raised his right arm in triumph as he rounded second base on his sixth career homer. He was pummeled in the dugout by teammates and took a curtain call for the fans.
"That's like what you do in the backyard -- 3-2, bottom of the ninth," Bruce said. "We were jumping around in the dugout. It was awesome."
Franklin hadn't allowed a run all season and had given up only four hits in his previous 13 2-3 innings.
"I had a good run there," he said. "I made two mistakes, pretty much."
Rasmus quickly changed the mood with his RBI double off Francisco Cordero (0-2), who is perfect in nine save chances but has lost twice when pitching with the score tied.
Over? Not even close.
For the first time all weekend, the Cardinals could smile.
"That was really important," said Chris Duncan, who drove in three runs. "We didn't want to get swept."
Bruce, Adam Rosales and Joey Votto also homered for the Reds, who had won three in a row for their best record in three years. Votto was out of the starting lineup for the fourth straight game because of the flu, but had a pinch-hit homer off Kyle McClellan.
The Cardinals ended Edinson Volquez's scoreless-inning streak at 16 -- he let in a run in the first with his errant throw -- and scored seven times off the right-hander. Skip Schumaker had a pair of doubles and scored twice for the Cardinals, and Duncan drove in three runs with a double and a single.
Albert Pujols' solo homer off Volquez snapped his 0-for-11 drought. Pujols' 12th homer was his only hit during the three-game series.
It was Pujols' 14th career homer at Great American, trailing only Lance Berkman's 20 for the most by a visiting player. ... Reds SS Alex Gonzalez missed his sixth game with pulled side muscles. The Reds will likely make a decision in the next couple days about whether to put him on the DL. He resumed baseball activities over the weekend. ... Bruce and Willy Taveras extended their hitting streaks to 11 games.