CINCINNATI -- Before he reached second base after doubling in the seventh inning, Cincinnati Reds third baseman Todd Frazier caught a glimpse of Billy Hamilton streaking toward home plate with the go-ahead run.
"Watching Billy run, it's something I can watch every day," Frazier said. "We knew the guy was electric."
Hamilton stole his first career base and scored the eventual game-winning run in his much-anticipated major league debut, and Homer Bailey pitched seven scoreless innings, lifting the Reds to a 1-0 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday at Great American Ball Park.
The speedy Hamilton, who was recalled from Triple-A Louisville on Monday, made his debut in front of several family members, including his mother. He entered as a pinch runner in the seventh.
"I haven't been that nervous in a long time," Hamilton said. "I got the chills on first base. That's what I came up here to do, steal bases in big situations."
Bailey (10-10) allowed just two hits, walked one and struck out eight. He retired the final 14 batters he faced, seven via strikeout.
Cincinnati (78-61) defeated St. Louis for the third straight time while both teams chase the first-place Pittsburgh Pirates in a tight National League Central race.
Cardinals starter Michael Wacha pitched six scoreless innings, giving up just three hits while walking two and striking out three. Wacha, recalled from Double-A Springfield earlier in the day, exited after throwing 80 pitches.
"He was very impressive," St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said of Wacha. "When you put guys in that kind of situation, you never know how they're going to react. He stepped up."
With the game still scoreless in the seventh, Ryan Ludwick singled off Seth Maness (5-2). Hamilton, the club's top-rated prospect who stole 75 bases this season to lead all Triple-A players, entered to a standing ovation.
"We knew that was part of their game plan going into the series," said Matheny of the Reds using Hamilton as a pinch runner in the late innings.
And, to nobody's surprise, Maness threw over to first base three times to keep Hamilton close.
"Everybody in the world knows what he has done in the minors," Cincinnati manager Dusty Baker said. "I didn't send him out there to paint. It's no secret."
Hamilton stole second just ahead of Yadier Molina's throw, and moments later raced home on Frazier's double.
"That guy's tough, he's the best," Baker said of Molina. "He almost threw Billy out there. That's what happens when you have speed."
The Cardinals (79-59) managed just two hits, both by Matt Carpenter.
"There's a reason he's pitched a couple of no-hitters in his career," Carpenter said of Bailey. "He did a great job of keeping us off-balance. He had two strikes on me in every at bat. He was pounding the strike zone with quality pitches, and when you can do that, it's tough."
Aroldis Chapman struck out Carlos Beltran, Matt Holliday and Allen Craig in succession in the ninth to earn his 34th save.
Bailey labored through a 19-pitch first inning, giving up a hit and a walk. The Cardinals had runners on first and second with no outs in the first, but Craig grounded into an inning-ending double play.
Bailey cruised through six more innings before reluctantly being removed for a pinch hitter in the eighth. In his past two starts against St. Louis, Bailey has allowed just seven hits in 14 1/3 scoreless innings.
"Against a lineup like that, it's very gratifying to go through two (outings) without giving up a run," Bailey said.
NOTES: It was just the 10th 1-0 game in the 11-year history of Great American Ball Park. ... Molina returned to the starting lineup after leaving Monday's game following the fifth inning due to left wrist soreness. ... Cardinals RF Carlos Beltran was back in the lineup after missing two straight games with back spasms. ... Reds LHP Tony Cingrani, who has been on the disabled list since Aug. 25 with a lower back strain, threw a successful bullpen session Tuesday. He is expected to be reinstated to start Thursday's series finale against St. Louis. ... The Cardinals expanded their roster. They recalled LHP Tyler Lyons and RHP Carlos Martinez from Springfield, called up INFs Ryan Jackson and Brock Peterson from Triple-A Memphis, and purchased the contract of C Audry Perez from Memphis. ... Cincinnati recalled RHP Nick Christiani from Triple-A Louisville.