With the exception of a Joey Votto walk–naturally–the Reds went through the first inning weakly. Then Mat Latos took the mound and allowed a double to the first batter he faced, Jon Jay. An out later, Jay scored thanks to a sacrifice fly by Carlos Beltran. Just like that, the Reds were down 1-0.
But Latos settled down. And the offense woke up. A little.
Scott Rolen homered in the 4th inning to tie the game. Then in the 6th inning, Votto lead off with another walk. Ryan Ludwick doubled to center field. Then Jay Bruce drove in Votto with a single for the lead. An out later, Dioner Navarro hit another single to give the Reds an insurance run.
Latos was pulled after pitching 5 innings. He allowed 1 run, 4 hits, 1 walk, and struck out 4 in picking up his 14th win. The early exit was due to not wearing him out before the playoffs.
The bullpen was more than up to the task of keeping the Cardinals off the board. Sam LeCure fulfilled the long-relief role before handing it over to the Reds’ three closers. Sean Marshall, Jonathan Broxton, and Aroldis Chapman closed it out. That is one fine trio to have heading into the playoffs.
For home-field advantage, the Nationals have to lose today, and the Reds have to win. Homer Bailey will be hoping to do that when he starts the last game of the regular season at 8:15pm.