Chris Carpenter has been helped lead a solid Cardinals pitching staff in 2012. Reuters

The St. Louis Cardinals were left scoreboard watching after their loss to the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday, and found their way into the postseason when the Los Angeles Dodgers fell to the San Francisco Giants in the late game.

The Dodgers needed to not only defeat their rival on Tuesday, but also for the Cardinals to lose on Wednesday and to defeat the Giants once again in the season finale to get the final wild card spot.

The Cardinals would likely have preferred to advance to the playoffs with a victory over the Reds, but will have to settle with the rather anticlimactic Dodgers' demise for their postseason berth. The defending World Series champions will face the Atlanta Braves in a one-game playoff.

Both the Cards and the Dodgers were engaged in tight battles on Tuesday. The Reds edged the Cardinals, 3-1, while the Dodgers failed to capitalize on some key opportunities as they lost to the Giants at Dodger Stadium, 4-3.

It was a particularly difficult season for L.A. The Dodgers began the season with uncertainty about their ownership, and the team lost star center fielder Matt Kemp for over 50 games due to injuries.

The Cardinals reached the postseason due to both solid pitching and hitting. With one game remaining, the Cardinals are eight the majors in earned-run average (3.73), and sixth in runs (764).