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NYM@CIN: Leake goes the distance to notch the victory

Right-hander Mike Leake draws the task of following up Homer Bailey's no-hitter when he takes the mound against the Pirates on Saturday at PNC Park. With Leake's immediate future up in the air, it could be his last start of the season.

While the Reds haven't announced anything, the club's top four starters for the postseason appear to be Johnny Cueto, Bronson Arroyo, Mat Latos and Bailey, who tossed the Reds' first no-hitter since 1988 on Friday. That leaves Leake wondering about his postseason status.

"I know I haven't deserved a spot to be one of the four [starters], but I feel I can still help," Leake said.

Leake hasn't had much success out of the bullpen during his career. In 4 2/3 innings in relief, Leake's ERA is 17.36. He hasn't pitched out of the 'pen this season.

His hitting and baserunning ability could help his chances of making the roster.

"If they took me, I don't feel they'd necessarily use me as a hitter or to pinch-hit, but maybe to help bunt or [run], or 14th-inning help," Leake said. "There's always that risk that someone gets hit or if a pitcher gets injured in the second inning and you need someone to mop up innings. You've got a lot of factors."

On Saturday, though, Leake will try to help the Reds take another step toward securing home-field advantage throughout the National League playoffs. The Reds and Nationals are 95-62 heading into Saturday.

The Pirates, who clinched a non-winning season for the 20th straight year on Friday, have had some success against Leake this season, plating 14 runs off him in his four starts.

Kyle McPherson will make his third start of the season for the Pirates. Against the Mets on Monday, McPherson allowed four runs in 4 1/3 innings.

McPherson was in the bullpen for two weeks after being called up from Triple-A Indianapolis. He said he's felt better recently after settling into a starter's routine.

"It's always big for me when I have that set routine," said McPherson, who will be looking for his first Major League win. "So I felt my arm strength was a lot better, but that just comes from having the routine, and those days to prepare."

Reds: Left field could be an option for Frazier
Rookie Todd Frazier made his sixth start of the season in left field on Friday. The Reds have been without regular left fielder Ryan Ludwick since he left a Sept. 19 game with tightness in his left groin.

Frazier was excited about the possibility of playing in the outfield in the postseason.

"You never know in playoff time, anything can happen," Frazier said. "You have to cover all your bases as a coaching staff and team. They know I can play all the positions and they understand when the time is needed, they can get me out there."

Acting manager Chris Speier expects Ludwick to return on Sunday.

"One of the great things about Fraz is he is very flexible in regards to where he can play," Speier said. "He can play third and first and now the outfield. It gives us more options just in case. We're anxious to get Ludwick back in the swing of things."

Pirates: Walker done for the season
• Second baseman Neil Walker revealed Friday that he has a herniated disc in his back and won't play the rest of the season.

The Pirates had generally described Walker's condition as "lower back tightness" in recent weeks. Walker said doctors assured him that he won't need surgery.

"All the specialists have seen all the MRIs, and none of them thought it was at that level," Walker said. "They all said that as long as I'm taking care of myself, nothing more is going to happen. I have to put my focus this offseason on making sure everything is in the right place."

Walker ends his season with a .280 batting average and a career-high 14 homers and 69 RBIs.

• Alex Presley, who popped out to second for the final out in Homer Bailey's no-hitter on Friday, is 6-for-10 against Leake this season with two homers.

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