Rookie Shelby Miller shows strong stuff in debut

6:35 AM, Oct 4, 2012   |    comments
St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Shelby Miller (41) signs autographs after the game against the Washington Nationals at Roger Dean Stadium. Miller was the Cardinals 2009 first round draft pick. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-US PRESSWIRE
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(The Chirp) -- RHP Shelby Miller, the 2009 top draft pick making his first major league start, held the Cincinnati Reds hitless for 5 2/3 innings and finished a six-inning stint allowing just a bloop single by shortstop Wilson Valdez as the Cardinals scratched out a 1-0 win in the regular-season finale. Miller fanned seven, those strikeouts exhausting only 23 pitches. "He had us eating out of his hand," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. While Miller gave up one hit, he got his first two major league hits, a double and a single, after going hitless in 27 at-bats at Class AAA Memphis and one with the Cardinals this year. "I really couldn't have asked for more," said Miller. "I'm thankful for the opportunity that the Cardinals gave me. I know it wasn't the biggest game of the year, but it meant a lot to me."

RHP Jason Motte recorded his 42nd save, marking the first time in franchise history that one pitcher had achieved all the team's saves. He also tied Atlanta RHP Craig Kimbrel for the National League lead. "Pretty cool," Motte said of both accomplishments.

1B Lance Berkman, batting for the first time in nearly a month after undergoing his second right knee surgery, tapped out as a pinch hitter. He was accorded a standing ovation in what probably was his final at-bat with the Cardinals. Berkman, who still hopes to be ready later in the postseason, said, "It was certainly a nice sendoff but something I've come to expect from this crowd here, to see the class these people have. The people are some of the best in the world, and it's my privilege to have gotten to play here."

CF Jon Jay did not play Wednesday, which meant he ended the season without a fielding error. He is hoping for his first Gold Glove.

C Yadier Molina finished the season with a .315 average, marking the first time a Cardinals catcher had led the team in hitting in two consecutive seasons. Molina batted .305 last year.

LHP Marc Rzepczynski, appearing in his 70th game, fanned Cincinnati 1B Joey Votto in the ninth inning. That might have improved Rzepczynski's chances of staying on the roster for the wild-card game Friday against Atlanta's lefty-dominated lineup.

Rookie SS Pete Kozma was the only Cardinals regular to start Wednesday's season finale.

BY THE NUMBERS: 88-74 -- Cardinals' final record, two wins fewer than when they won the World Series title last year.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "We're not going to use roster spots on starting pitching that we don't think we'll use." -- Manager Mike Matheny, on the team's plans to not add more than one or two starting pitchers to the roster for the wild-card play-in game.

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