St. Louis Cardinals Mark Hamilton swings for a single driving in the winning run against the Cincinnati Reds in the eighth inning. UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Both Chris Carpenter and Johnny Cueto of the Reds pitched well, giving up six hits each, but Mark Hamilton’s pinch hit infield single brought in Colby Rasmus in the bottom of the eighth inning, giving the Cardinals a 1-0 win and sole possession of first place in the National League Central.

Hamilton’s hard grounder down the third base line was scooped up by Scott Rolen, as the former Gold Glove winner showed he still has the skills, but the long throw across the diamond was just late as Hamilton dove in head first.

Fernando Salas pitched a scoreless ninth to save Carpenter’s third win in a row. Carpenter has allowed just two runs on 18 hits in 24 innings to lower his ERA to 3.74. He’s now 13-4 lifetime against the Reds and has moved his record this season to 4-7.

He got some defensive help along the way. Jon Jay robbed Jay Bruce with a leaping catch at the right field wall to end the fourth and fought the sun for another nice catch on Edgar Renteria’s drive near the warning track with two men on in the seventh.