ST. LOUIS -- Coming off the first no-hitter of his career, Homer Bailey ended the suspense immediately on Wednesday.
Bailey's very first batter of the game, Adron Chambers, hit a single up the middle in the bottom of the first inning to guarantee Johnny Vander Meer's feat of two straight no-hitters was safe from replication. Bailey, who pitched only four innings, was long gone when the Cardinals scored the night's lone run in the bottom of the eighth inning to give the Reds a 1-0 loss in Game 162.
Going into the postseason, Bailey will be on a roll with 13 straight scoreless innings.
"You always want to finish strong, right?" Bailey said. "I was actually glad that the first guy got a hit so we could get that whole mess done with. I just went out there and tried to get my work in but still keep that competitive feel."
One day after saying he wasn't sure whether Bailey would get a start in the National League Division Series, Reds manager Dusty Baker revealed the right-hander would start a Game 4 vs. the Giants, if necessary. A three-man rotation had been considered, but now Bailey will follow Johnny Cueto, Bronson Arroyo and Mat Latos.
"There's not enough time off in between the way they have it planned now," Baker said. "We'll have Johnny come back, probably, if there is a need for Game 5."
Bailey finished his regular season with a 13-10 record and 3.68 ERA as he set a career high in wins and 208 innings pitched.
"We have such a good rotation, you could throw any of us out there and you're likely to get a quality start," Bailey said. "There's a great chance of you getting a really good game. It all depends on who's out there that day. You have to have trust in anyone who goes out there."
While Bailey knew there was no shot at a second no-hitter right away, his lineup found itself on the wrong side of Shelby Miller, who kept the Reds hitless for 5 2/3 innings.
Cincinnati's only baserunners through the first five innings came via two walks and a hit batsman until Wilson Valdez flared a soft single to short right field just over second baseman Ryan Jackson's glove with two outs in the sixth.
For Miller, the Cardinals' top pitching prospect, it was his first Major League start.
"I didn't really know how I was going to feel in it, as far my arm since I hadn't start since whenever it was [Aug. 31 with Triple-A Memphis]," Miller said. "But my arm felt good, and I couldn't have really asked for more. I'm just thankful for the opportunity."
Since postseason brackets were decided prior to the Reds-Cardinals tilt when the Nationals beat the Phillies to take the No. 1 seed, there were no ramifications from the outcome in St. Louis. The Reds will be the No. 2 seed in the NLDS, while the Cardinals have the NL Wild Card game on Friday at Atlanta.
Both teams responded accordingly. The Cardinals fielded a starting lineup that consisted of mostly bench players and prospects. Upon clinching their playoff spot the previous night, they also pulled originally scheduled starter Adam Wainwright and plugged in Miller.
Cincinnati pulled several of its starters after four innings. As for Bailey's four frames, he allowed four hits with six strikeouts in what amounted to his tuneup.
"Homer finished up real strong," Baker said. "We had some guys we had to get in there, much like the other games. He was fine with it. He is in a good place. He likes how he's throwing the ball and so do we."
Jose Arredondo, J.J. Hoover and Logan Ondrusek all put together a scoreless inning each after Bailey's departure. The fifth pitcher to appear for Cincinnati, Jonathan Broxton, gave up a one-out lined single off of his thigh by Shane Robinson.
Rookie Tony Cingrani took over and walked the first batter, Skip Schumaker, after working out of a 1-2 count. Next was Matt Carpenter, who scorched a hard grounder through second baseman Henry Rodriguez and into right field to break the ice.
"In that situation with all left-handers up, we wanted to get Cingrani in there," Baker said. "He's one of the guys that are going to Goodyear in case we need him. It was a perfect time to get him in there."
Ending the season with the second-best record in baseball, the Reds finished 97-65.