CINCINNATI (AP) - Things were looking up for the Reds at the start of the week. They'd clinched a playoff spot and had a chance to win home-field advantage for their first playoff game.

Their hitting went away, and so did all of those hometown plans.

The Reds dropped their fifth game in a row Sunday, ending the regular season with a 4-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates. Cincinnati's losing streak matched its longest of the season and cost the Reds a chance to host the NL wild-card game.

Instead, they'll head to PNC Park for a rematch with the Pirates on Tuesday night.

"We've been beat up pretty good all week," manager Dusty Baker said. "What I'm hearing around here is: We've lost already. This isn't the way I wanted to get in, but how many teams are in? Five? We're one of the five."

And they're heading back to a familiar place to face a team in the playoffs for the first time in 21 years. The Pirates and Reds have met five times in the playoffs: 1970, 1972, 1975, 1979 and 1990, when the Reds won their last World Series title.

The wild-card matchup features right-hander Johnny Cueto (5-2), who is 8-2 career at PNC Park, against left-hander Francisco Liriano (16-8), who is 0-3 in four starts against Cincinnati this season.

First, there was one game to finish the schedule on Sunday, and it meant little to either team.

The Pirates played mostly backups. Pedro Alvarez was in the lineup, giving him a chance to try to win the NL home run crown outright. He walked, was hit by a pitch and popped out, finishing tied with Arizona's Paul Goldschmidt at 36 homers.

Baker started his regulars but began substituting after the third inning. Corky Miller had a two-run double.

"I don't think we're worried about the way we finished the season," catcher Ryan Hanigan said. "I think everybody's excited about the opportunity. All of that is in the past. Everything is ahead of us."

On Tuesday, the cities will add to a rivalry that has long been second-best for both cities -right behind Cleveland.




Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.