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Date of game: 9/3/2013

Recap: Cincinnati vs. St. Louis

Cincinnati, OH (Sports Network) - The preternatural speed of Billy Hamilton helped the Cincinnati Reds inch closer to the St. Louis Cardinals in the hotly contested NL Central race.

Hamilton scored the only run in the Reds' 1-0 victory that featured quite the pitchers' duel between Cincinnati's Homer Bailey and St. Louis rookie Michael Wacha.

The Reds have taken the first two installments of this four-game set at Great American Ball Park to climb within 1 1/2 games of the Cardinals for the wild card lead. Cincinnati, which owns a healthy 7 1/2-game cushion for the final playoff spot, is 3 1/2 games back of Central-leading Pittsburgh.

Wacha, one of six players added to the St. Louis roster on Tuesday, gave way to the bullpen after scattering three hits and walking two over six scoreless innings.

"He was very impressive. You put a young guy in a situation like that, you just never know how he is going to react, and he stepped up," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said about Wacha.

Ryan Ludwick greeted Cardinals reliever Seth Maness (5-2) with a leadoff single. Hamilton, the Reds' top prospect, then made his major league debut as a pinch-runner and promptly displayed his much ballyhooed wheels by stealing second.

"That's my job...to steal bases in big situations," Hamilton said.

Todd Frazier followed with a double into the left-field corner to score Hamilton, who set a professional baseball record with 155 stolen bases in 2012.

Bailey (10-10) pitched the first seven innings for the Reds, allowing just two hits -- a pair of singles by Matt Carpenter. The right-hander struck out eight and walked one and capped his outing by retiring the final 14 batters he faced.

Manny Parra succeeded Bailey and worked around a two-out walk in the eighth before Aroldis Chapman struck out the side in the ninth for his 34th save.

Game Notes

The Reds had lost the previous seven series to the Cardinals ... Bailey notched his career-high fifth consecutive win ... Carpenter registered his 53rd multi-hit game of the season ... St. Louis right fielder Carlos Beltran returned to the lineup after missing two games with lower back tightness ... Wacha and fellow pitchers Tyler Lyons and Carlos Martinez were recalled from Double-A Springfield by the Cardinals, who recalled infielders Brock Peterson and Ryan Jackson and purchased the contract of catcher Audry Perez from Triple-A Memphis as well.

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Conference USA has added two new teams this season (Old Dominion and Western Ky) and lost three (Tulsa, East Carolina and Tulane) but it is really a one team league. And that team is Marshall.

Panthers' Wharton to announce retirement

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Royals acquire Kratz, Hendriks from Blue Jays for Valencia

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