ST. LOUIS — Rookie Shelby Miller will get the final regular-season start for the St. Louis Cardinals tonight against Cincinnati, manager Mike Matheny said late Tuesday night.
The decision came after the Cardinals clinched a playoff berth with Los Angeles' loss to San Francisco on the West Coast, rendering tonight's game meaninghless.
Kyle Lohse will start Friday against Atlanta in the wild card playoff game, leaving Wainwright available to pitch the opener of a first-round series Sunday at Busch Stadium if the Cardinals get past the Braves.
The Cardinals were unable to celebrate on the field Tuesday, failing to beat the Reds in the middle game of the regular season-ending series.
St. Louis took a 1-0 lead on Matt Holliday's first-inning sacrifice fly, but Reds pitchers Mat Latos (14-4), Sam LeCure, Sean Marshall, Jonathan Broxton and Aroldis Chapman combined to throw 8 1/3 shutout innings after the run.
Scott Rolen tied the game with a fourth-inning homer against Chris Carpenter (0-1) before the Reds went ahead for good with a two-run sixth. Jay Bruce and Dioner Navarro had RBI singles.
It was Carpenter's third start of the season, and despite the loss, he felt it marked continued progress.
"I thought I was better again," he said. "Especially early on, I felt like my command and sharpness of my stuff was better than it was the first two times out, which is good. I just made some bad pitches in that one inning to give up the two runs.
"But I felt like I did the best I could."
Carpenter allowed seven hits in six innings. He walked two and struck out seven.
"The first five innings, he threw the ball very well," Matheny said. "The sixth, he had a couple stack up against him, but he threw the ball pretty good. It's all part of him strengthening himself and his pitching muscles."
Matheny was confident in Carpenter. The same could be said of his attitude about Wainwright, the likely starter of the first-round, best-of-five series if the Cards win in Atlanta Friday..
"I love to have him out there," Matheny said before the Dodgers' loss. "Hopefully, we see the Adam Wainwright that loves taking charge of big situations like this."
Contact reporter David Wilhelm at firstname.lastname@example.org or 239-2665.