The St. Louis Cardinals have clinched a playoff spot for the third straight year.
Washington’s 4-2 loss to Miami in a doubleheader opener Sunday assured the Cardinals of at least an NL wild-card berth.
Not that anyone could tell in the Miller Park clubhouse before the Cardinals played Milwaukee on Sunday night. There was no champagne on ice, no victory cigars being lit up.
There’s still an NL Central title at stake.
The Cardinals’ lead over the Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh dropped to two games after a 6-4 loss to the Brewers Sunday. The Reds beat the Pirates earlier Sunday 11-3.
“We’re confident. We know we have a good ballclub. Everything’s clicking right now,” first baseman Matt Adams said. “We’re happy but we want to keep taking things day by day and then win the division and then go from there.”
Manager Mike Matheny said he learned of the Nationals loss while in the weight room before. There was some chit-chat, and Matheny said he would have a quick conversation about it with his club after Sunday night’s game.
Don’t expect the Cardinals to rest their players the final week just because they’re in, too.
“Right now, we’re nowhere near that,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of baseball to win these next seven games.”
The Atlanta Braves and Oakland Athletics also clinched playoff berths Sunday. The Braves won their first NL East crown since 2005 and the Athletics took their second straight AL West title.
With a week left in the regular season, the race for the two AL wild-card spots is still tangled. Tampa Bay is a half-game ahead of Cleveland, with Texas 11⁄2 games behind the Indians.