While they didn't find out until well after losing their last game, the defending World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals are officially headed back to the playoffs.
Though it could have clinched with a win, St. Louis (87-74), which fell 3-1 on Tuesday, locked up a playoff berth with the Los Angeles Dodgers ' 4-3 loss to San Francisco later that night. The Cardinals will play at Atlanta on Friday in the new one-game playoff between wild-card teams."It's a great feeling. It's a wonderful accomplishment," general manager John Mozeliak said. "I couldn't be more proud of these guys and especially Mike Matheny for what he was able to do with his leadership."
Cincinnati (97-64), meanwhile, remains tied with Washington for the league's best record after the Nationals won 4-2 on Tuesday. The Reds lost their head-to-head series against the Nationals and need a victory in this game and a Washington loss Wednesday to earn home-field advantage throughout the postseason.
"We don't know if it's going to be advantageous to get first, second or third or the wild card," manager Dusty Baker said. "Right now, this is all new."
The Reds have won four of six overall and six of nine against the Cardinals.
"It's a lot of energy," Jay Bruce said. "I think it's a good series for us to play going into the playoffs.
" Scott Rolen actually pointed that out to me. If we had gone somewhere where they're not a contender, we would have been like, `All right, let's get this over.' But these guys are good, they play us tough."
The Reds now turn to Bailey (13-10, 3.75 ERA), who went 3-1 with a 2.01 ERA over six September starts and finished the month in spectacular fashion. The right-hander matched a career high with 10 strikeouts while throwing the 15th no-hitter in Reds history Friday, a 1-0 win at Pittsburgh.
"To me, at 26 ... he's got a lot of time to get better and he's already shown he's an established quality starter," said batterymate Ryan Hanigan . "Whether he becomes an ace or not, we'll see."
Despite his superb effort, Bailey could be left out of Cincinnati's postseason rotation. Johnny Cueto will get the call in Game 1 of the division series with Bronson Arroyo and Mat Latos taking the mound in Games 2 and 3.
"We're not sure about that," Baker told the team's official website when asked if he would use a fourth starter, if needed. "Generally speaking, you only use three starters in the first round. We won't try to guess who's not (in), but that's a pretty good ace in the hole if you've got a guy getting hammered."
Bailey has typically struggled against the Cardinals, going 3-7 with a 5.32 ERA over 12 career starts. He is 0-3 with a 6.89 ERA in four outings at St. Louis, though he hasn't pitched there since last season.
Miller, who turns 22 later this month, has made five relief appearances since he was recalled from the minors on Sept. 4. He tossed one scoreless inning at Houston last Wednesday.
|September 19, 2012||Aroldis Chapman||Day-to-Day||Left shoulder fatigue|
|September 19, 2012||Ryan Ludwick||Day-to-Day||Left game - left groin tightness|
|September 08, 2012||Zack Cozart||Day-to-Day||Strained left oblique|
|August 31, 2012||Kristopher Negron||15-Day DL||Torn right ACL - out for season|
|August 01, 2012||Devin Mesoraco||7-Day DL||Concussion|
|August 01, 2012||Wilson Valdez||Day-to-Day||Left game - stiff neck|
|St. Louis Cardinals|
|September 28, 2012||David Freese||Day-to-Day||Sprained right ankle|
|September 28, 2012||Matt Holliday||Day-to-Day||Left game - left elbow contusion|
|September 23, 2012||Yadier Molina||Day-to-Day||Lower back spasms|
|September 09, 2012||David Freese||Day-to-Day||Swollen left ankle|
|September 09, 2012||Matt Carpenter||Day-to-Day||Cut hand|
|September 09, 2012||Jake Westbrook||Day-to-Day||Strained right oblique|
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- St. Louis rookie right-hander Shelby Miller didn't get much sleep Tuesday night.
Miller and his teammates celebrated until the wee hours as the Cardinals clinched the NL's second wild-card berth when San Francisco beat Los Angeles.
Minutes after the 1 a.m., party started, Miller was informed that he would be making his first career start on Wednesday.
"I tried to gather myself and put together a quick game plan," Miller said.
The tired Miller did more than that. He took a no-hitter into the sixth inning, Matt Carpenter had a run-scoring single and St. Louis beat the Cincinnati Reds 1-0.
The Cardinals, who won 12 of their final 16 regular-season games, will face the Braves in Atlanta on Friday.
Cincinnati, which has won four of seven, takes on NL West champion San Francisco in an NL division series beginning Saturday.
Miller gave up a two-out bloop single to Wilson Valdez in the sixth to end his no-hit bid. He struck out seven, walked two and allowed just one hit over six innings.
"I'd say Shelby looked terrific," manager Mike Matheny said. "He came out there against a very good team and lineup. It was pretty impressive what he was able to do."
Miller struck out four straight hitters on 13 pitches during the fourth and fifth innings.
"He threw the ball great," Cincinnati third baseman Scott Rolen said. "You could tell by the swings guys were taking, guys were not comfortable up there."
Reds starter Homer Bailey , who threw a no-hitter at Pittsburgh in his previous start, tossed four shutout innings and gave up four hits. He struck out six and did not walk a batter. He gave up a leadoff single to Adron Chambers on his third pitch of the game.
"I was actually glad the first guy got a hit so we could get that whole mess done with," Bailey said. "I just went out there and tried to get my work in and still keep the competitive feel. The most I was going to go was five (innings). It was almost a tune-up, but you can't think of it as a tune-up until you are done."
Carpenter drove in Shane Robinson for the lone run with a one-out single that eluded second baseman Henry Rodriguez . Robinson singled off Jonathan Broxton (3-3) to start the eighth-inning rally.
Victor Marte (3-2) picked up the win with one inning of relief. Jason Motte recorded his 42nd save in 49 opportunities, tying him for the most saves in the NL with Craig Kimbrel of Atlanta.
"That's cool," Motte said. "He (Kimbrel) has been doing this for two years. This makes me feel good."
Matheny held seven regulars out of the lineup. Shortstop Pete Kozma was the only starter to begin the contest.
Reds skipper Dusty Baker started most of his regulars.
Lance Berkman pinch hit in the seventh inning in his first appearance since Sept. 7. He has had two knee surgeries this season and is contemplating retiring. He received a standing ovation after grounding back to the pitcher.
"It was certainly a nice sendoff," Berkman said. "You can see the class that the people here have."
Berkman has 360 homers and 1,200 RBIs in his 14-year career.
NOTES: St. Louis RHP Kyle Lohse (16-3, 2.86 ERA) will start the one-game wild card playoff in Atlanta. Lohse will celebrate his 34th birthday Thursday. ... Baker announced his starting rotation for the NLDS series against San Francisco. Johnny Cueto (19-9, 2.78) will start Game 1, Bronson Arroyo (12-10, 3.74) is slated for Game 2 and Mat Latos (14-4, 3.48) will pitch Game 3. Bailey is likely to go if there is a Game 4 ... Miller got his first major league hit, a double in the third inning, to end a nine-pitch at-bat. He added a single in the fifth. ... The crowd of 42,509 gave the Cardinals 19 sellouts this season.