Top pitching prospect carries Cardinals past Reds

Fitzgerald Cecilio – 4E Sports Reporter

St. Louis, MO, United States (4E Sports) – Top pitching prospect Shelby Miller took a no-hit bid into the sixth inning in his first career start as the St. Louis Cardinals defeated the Cincinnati Reds, 1-0, Wednesday before a sellout crowd of 42,509 at Busch Stadium.

Starting in place of Adam Wainwright, Miller pitched 6 2/3 innings, allowing just one hit — a bloop single by Wilson Valdez — with seven strikeouts for a no-decision but he made a strong case for next season’s starting rotation.

“Shelby looked terrific,” St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said. “He came out there against a very good team that threw their lineup out there that they will use the first day of the playoffs. So pretty impressive what he was able to do.”

“It’ll definitely help him as he prepares for next season and walks into Spring Training,” Matheny said of Miller’s starting experience. “He’s done a good job up to this point. We’ve put him in some spots that I don’t know if he expected to be in.”

The Cardinals earlier clinched the second National League Wild Card and will face the Atlanta Braves in a one-game playoff Friday. The Reds will take on NL West champion San Francisco Giants in the division series starting Saturday.

Miller issued two walks and hit one batter through the first five innings and struck out seven during that span. He opened the sixth with two flyouts before Valdez sneaked one past second baseman Ryan Jackson.

Miller finished the inning by getting Joey Votto to ground out before he was pulled out after 72 pitches, 52 of them strikes. He also tallied his first career hit – a double off the left-field wall and later added a single in his fifth-inning at-bat.

St. Louis failed to break Reds starter Homer Bailey in the first four innings but finally had a chance against reliever Jonathan Broxton (3-3), who allowed an RBI single to Matt Carpenter for the game’s only score.

Victor Marte (3-2) earned the win after pitching a scoreless eighth before Jason Motte sealed the win with his 42nd save in 49 chances.

Veteran Lance Berkman also share the spotlight with Miller when he was sent to pinch-hit in the seventh in probably his last plate appearance before he calls it a career after 14 years of play.

Berkman, bothered by knee issues this season, received a standing ovation from the crowd and from his teammates during an elongated introduction. After tipping his helmet and waving to the crowd, he grounded out to end the inning.

“It was really nice,” said Berkman. “I didn’t know what the crowd would think when I went up there. It was certainly a nice sendoff.”

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