Wainwright strikes out, Votto ejected in season finale

ST. LOUIS — Adam Wainwright made one final appearance in his 18-year big league career, striking out as a pinch hitter on Sunday in the St. Louis Cardinals’ 4-3 season-ending win to the Cincinnati Reds.

Cincinnati first baseman Joey Votto, playing perhaps his final game with the Reds, struck out in the first inning, then was ejected before the top of the second by plate umpire Shane Livensparger.

Wainwright, a 42-year-old right-hander, went 200-128 with a 3.53 ERA in 18 major league seasons, all with the Cardinals. He got his 200th win in in his final pitching appearance against Milwaukee on Sept. 18.

He grounded out as a pinch hitter on Saturday night in his first plate appearance in two years, then was honored during a pregame ceremony on Sunday before a crowd of 44,614.

Fans chanted Wainwright’s name in the eighth inning and former catcher Yadier Molina held up a sign from the stands saying, “Let Waino bat.” A career .192 batter, Wainwright for Jose Fermin with one out. Alan Busenitz struck out Wainwright on five pitches with two foul balls. Wainwright received a huge ovation on his way back to the dugout for the last time.

St. Louis finished 71-91, down from 93-69 last year en route to winning the NL Central title and the Cardinals’ worst record since going 70-92 in 1990.

Nick Martini homered for the Reds, who were mathematically eliminated from postseason contention on Saturday. Cincinnati finished 82-80, a 20-win improvement from last year.

Votto was given a brief ovation during his at-bat in the top half, struck out on a foul and returned to the dugout without argument.

Before the top of the second, Votto came onto the field trailed by Bell and had a conversation with Livensparger, who was joined by third base umpire Phil Cuzzi. Votto returned to the dugout and headed to the clubhouse, The ejection was the 15th of Votto’s career.

A six-time All-Star, Votto has a .294 average with 356 homers and 1,144 RBIs in 17 seasons. Tyler Stephenson replaced Votto at first base in the bottom of the second.

Votto said posted online that Livensparger was, “completely justified in ejecting me.”

Luken Baker broke a 2-all tie with a run-scoring double in the third inning off Miles Mikolas (9-13), who allowed three runs and seven hits in seven innings with 10 strikeouts.

Hunter Greene (4-7) gave up four runs and nine hits over five innings,

Ryan Helsely got his 14th save in 19 chances.

Noelvi Marte extended his hitting streak to 16 games with a double in the ninth inning.

Trainer’s room

Cardinals: Third base coach Ron Warner missed the game after leaving Saturday’s game due to dizziness. He was checked at a hospital and released. Stubby Clapp coached third on Sunday,

Cardinals Nation shows up

St. Louis drew 3,241,091, down from 3.32 million last year. The Cardinals topped 3 million for the 25th time, second only to the Los Angeles Dodgers’ 34.

Up next

Reds: Will host Cleveland on Saturday, Feb. 24 in Goodyear, Arizona.

Cardinals: Will host Miami in the exhibition opener on Saturday, Feb. 24 in Jupiter, Florida.