The Reds manager talks about Alfredo Simon's struggles.

Alfredo Simon hit hard as Cincinnati Reds lose to Cardinals

That says less about the Reds (22-37) and Cardinals (31-28) than it does about the Cubs (41-17), who are on pace to win 114 games. The Reds have been the third-worst team in baseball. The Cardinals have been just above average. The Cubs exist in a different universe, though winning 145 games won’t guarantee them their first World Series championship in 108 years.

The Reds slipped further into the abyss Wednesday, falling 12-7 to the Cardinals in front of 21,376 in the second game of a three-game series at Great American Ball Park.

Reds starter Alfredo Simon (2-6) walked the first two batters he faced in the first inning and then gave up a three-run home run to Matt Adams. It didn’t get much better from there.

Simon allowed six earned runs on seven hits in five innings. His ERA climbed to 9.11. He regained the major-league lead in earned runs allowed (53).

“It didn’t seem like he really settled in,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “Even in some of the innings when he was able to be competitive, from a command standpoint, he was very erratic.”

Simon could be the odd-man out when Anthony DeSclafani returns to the rotation Friday.

“The reason (Simon) has had so much rope is he was with us for three years and was a terrific performer,” Price said. “He always wanted to pitch. He just hasn’t gotten on a roll. It’s been a battle for him really since the inception of the season.”

The Reds rallied from the early deficit, tying the game at 4-4 in the fourth on a home run by Zack Cozart.

The tie game didn’t last for long. Simon gave up a two-run home to Brandon Moss in the fifth. The blast landed about five rows from the top of the right-field stands, or just short of Kentucky.

The Reds cut the Cardinals’ lead to 6-5 in the fifth with a home run by Tucker Barnhart. Steve Selsky recorded his first big league hit, a double to center, in the same inning.

The Cardinals extended their lead in the seventh and eighth, scoring six runs against relievers Josh Smith and JC Ramirez.

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