After losing two straight, the Cincinnati Reds earned a much-needed victory last night with a 9-8 win over St. Louis. 

With the win, the Reds were able to retake sole possession of first place in the NL Central and now hold a one-game lead over the Cardinals. 

The return of Joey Votto to the lineup was huge for the Reds as the first baseman went 4-5, scored three runs, batted in one, and was a double away from hitting for the cycle. 

Scott Rolen added two home runs and four RBI. 

Much of the Reds' 2010 success can be credited to Johnny Gomes, who got on base three of four times last night and batted in the tying run in the 7th.

After posting a 5-0 record and 1.85 ERA in his last six starts, Johnny Cueto had a rough night, allowing eight runs on 10 hits. Also, for the first time in his career, Cueto did not record a strikeout. 

However, the bullpen had his back. Del Rosario, Rhodes, Masset and Cordero combined for four innings of work and gave up no runs. 

Every starter except Ceuto got a hit in what turned out to be a slugfest between two of the NL's best offenses. 

The rubber match of the series is tonight at 8:15 from Busch Stadium in St. Louis. 

In true David verse Goliath fashion, Reds' rookie Sam LeCure (1-0, 3.00) will face Cardinals' Ace Chris Carpenter (6-1, 2.93). 

First place is again on the line. With a win, the Reds can give themselves a little cushion atop the Central.