ST. LOUIS (AP) The Cincinnati Reds' bid to become just the third team to make the playoffs following a 100-loss season ended in game No. 161 when they were eliminated during the seventh inning of a 15-6 defeat to the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday night.
“It hurts,” Cincinnati manager David Bell said. “I guess it's a privilege to feel like we do right now. because you put everything you have into from Day 1. This team should be incredibly proud of the way we played. Our players deserve all the credit. It's the best team I've ever been a part of. I'll be forever grateful to every single guy on this team. Hopefully we can stay together for a long, long time."
Elly De La Cruz had just grounded out for the final out of the top of the seventh when the Marlins (84-76) finished a 7-3 win at Pittsburgh to clinch a wild-card berth.
Any drama of scoreboard-watching dissipated when the Reds fell behind 11-0 by the third inning.
“When you get this far, it becomes more painful,” Bell said.
Cincinnati, which outhit the Cardinals 14-13, was coming off a 62-100 season. The franchise turned around behind De La Cruz and fellow rookies Christian Encarnacion-Strand, Spencer Steer and Matt McLain. Rookie Noelvi Marte his first four-hit game for the Reds.
“It really kills me. I don't know what to say," an emotional Jonathan India said. “This is a special team. It's been a special season. It's very tough. It brings me to tears how much I love this team. ”
Connor Phillips (1-1) lasted just 12 pitches - all balls.
“He was having some soreness. It's not a serious thing or a long-term thing,” Bell said. “It could have affected the start he got off to. Any other day he pitches through that and finds it out there.”
After Phillips' walks to Tommy Edman, Paul Goldschmidt and Lars Nootbar, Jordan Walker lined a two-run double on an 0-2 pitch from Fernando Cruz.
“We had a good time tonight,” Walker said. “It's been a very exciting season. For my first season, I've had a lot of fun.”
Rookie Iván Herrera hit a two-run double and scored on rookie Luken Baker's double for a 5-0 lead.
St. Louis scored its most runs in a first inning this season.
Nootbar hit a three-run homer in the second off Cruz, and rookie José Fermín's two-run double against Buck Farmer boosted the lead to 10-0. Paul Goldschmidt drove in a run in the third with his second double.
“We came out swinging. We put up 10 in the first two innings,” St. Louis manager Oliver Marmol said. “It was good to see.”
Drew VerHagen (5-1) pitched one inning in relief for the win for the Cardinals (70-91), who are trying to avoid losing 92 games for the first time since 1990. They will finish last for the first time since 1990.
Cardinals optioned RHP Jake Woodford to the Florida Complex League and recalled RHP James Naile from Triple-A Memphis.
Reds: RHP Hunter Green (9-12, 4.71 ERA) starts the last regular season game. He is 2-4 with a 3.23 ERA in his career against St. Louis.
Cardinals: RHP Miles Mikolas (8-13, 4.82) pitched seven scoreless innings of five-hit ball in a 4-1 win at Milwaukee on Tuesday.
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