Scott Rolen homered while Jay Bruce and Dioner Navarro each knocked in a run to lead the Cincinnati Reds past the St. Louis Cardinals, 3-1, in the middle test of a three-game series at Busch Stadium.
Despite the loss, the Cardinals were still able to clinch the National League's final wild card spot after the Los Angeles Dodgers were defeated by San Francisco on Tuesday.
Mat Latos (14-4) allowed one run on four hits and a walk over a five-inning start for the NL Central-champion Reds, who remained tied with Washington for the best record in the majors at 97-64 after the Nationals also won on Tuesday.
Chris Carpenter (0-2) surrendered three runs on seven hits and two walks with seven strikeouts through six innings for St. Louis, which will travel to Atlanta on Friday for a one-game wild card playoff following tomorrow's regular-season finale.
"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."
The Cardinals took the early lead in their first at-bat after Jon Jay led off the bottom of the inning with a double into the right-field corner, moved to second on a Carlos Beltran ground out and raced home on Matt Holliday's sacrifice fly to center field.
The Reds would strand a pair of runners on second and third in the third inning before tying the game in the fourth with Rolen's solo blast over the wall in left field.
Cincinnati then went on top in the sixth as Joey Votto worked a leadoff walk, moved to third on Ryan Ludwick's double and scored on a Bruce single to center field.
Navarro pulled a base hit through the right side of the infield two batters later to plate Ludwick for a 3-1 advantage.
St. Louis threatened to cut into its deficit in the seventh inning by placing a man on third with two outs, but Jay grounded out to second to end the threat.
Sean Marshall and Jonathan Broxton would then combine to pitch a scoreless eighth before Chapman shut the door in the ninth.
"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 Reds have won seven straight games started by Latos, who improved to 2-4 in seven career starts against the Cardinals ... Carpenter fell to 14-5 in 24 career starts against Cincinnati ... Each team has won seven games in the season series.