ST. LOUIS (AP) — Cincinnati outfielder Ryan Ludwick is more than pleased with the way his club closed the regular season.
Forget about Wednesday night’s 1-0 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals in the regular-season finale.
The NL Central champs are ready to roll as they head into an NL division series against West titleholder San Francisco beginning on Saturday.
‘‘We’re playing well and I like our chances,’’ Ludwick said. ‘‘It’s been a good season. When I signed up here in the offseason, the reason I signed is I thought this team would go to the postseason.
‘‘And here we are.’’
Third baseman Scott Rolen agrees.
‘‘We've played good ball all year and now we’re excited to be going to San Francisco. I'm looking forward to this,’’ he said. ‘‘We are definitely ready.’’
St. Louis rookie right-hander Shelby Miller took a no-hitter into the sixth inning and Matt Carpenter had a run-scoring single in the eighth to lead the Cardinals to their 12th win in their final 16 regular-season games. They will face the Braves in Atlanta on Friday in a one-game wild-card matchup.
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 fanned four straight hitters on 13 pitches during the fourth and fifth innings.
‘‘He threw the ball great,’’ 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 allowing 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 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 game.
Reds skipper Dusty Baker started most of his regulars.
‘‘I thought we finished up real strong,’’ Baker said. ‘‘I'm happy.’’
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.