(Sports Network) - The Cincinnati Reds hope to capture the majors' top record when they send Homer Bailey to the mound this evening in the finale of a three-game series against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium.
The NL Central-champion Reds and Washington Nationals have identical 97-64 records, but the Nationals own the tiebreaker. The Nationals, who captured the NL East title this week, will host Philadelphia this afternoon.
Cincinnati hopes Bailey can duplicate his last outing when he tossed a no- hitter at Pittsburgh last Friday in a 1-0 triumph. Bailey walked one batter and struck out 10, improving to 13-10 with a 3.75 earned run average in 32 starts this season.
"I've thrown a bunch of no-hitters in my bullpen (sessions)," Bailey said. "What is no-hit stuff, really? There's a lot of things that go into it. ... So many things have to go in your favor. One little bloop, one miscue, one wrong positioning by an infielder, there's your hit. A lot of it just has to come down to luck."
Bailey, a right-hander, lost to the Cardinals back on Aug. 26 in an 8-2 decision and is just 3-7 with a 5.32 earned run average in 12 starts against them. He has fared well on the road, however, going 9-2 in 15 chances.
Cincinnati has won 10 of its last 15 games and aims for a series win Wednesday. In last night's 3-1 victory, Mat Latos fired five innings of one- run ball for the win and Aroldis Chapman hurled a scoreless ninth for his 38th save of the season.
Scott Rolen homered and both Jay Bruce and Dioner Navarro drove in a run for the Reds, who are 3-2 on a six-game road trip.
"I think it's a good series for us to play going into the playoffs," Bruce said about the Cardinals. "These guys are good, they play us tough and they have a great team."
The defending World Series champion Cardinals locked up a wild card spot when the Los Angeles Dodgers lost to the Giants last night, and will travel to Atlanta for a one-game playoff series on Friday.
Chris Carpenter made the start last night and was tagged for three runs and seven hits in six innings to suffer the loss.
"The first five innings he threw the ball very well," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said about Carpenter. "In the sixth, he had a couple stack up against him, but he threw the ball pretty good."
Matt Holliday had two hits and an RBI, while Jon Jay finished 2-for-4 with a run scored for the Cardinals, who had won 11 of 14 games and are 3-2 on a six- game homestand.
Rookie Shelby Miller is slated to pitch for the Cardinals tonight and he is 1-0 with a 2.35 ERA in five relief appearances. The right-hander has never faced Cincinnati and has lasted 7 2/3 innings on the mound this season. He will make his first career start and second appearance at home.
The Cardinals and Reds have split 14 meetings this season.