Cards clinch playoff spot, then lose 7-2 to Reds

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ST. LOUIS (AP) _ The St. Louis Cardinals clinched a playoff spot on Sunday, and then lost 7-2 to Jay Bruce and the Cincinnati Reds.

St. Louis secured its fourth consecutive postseason appearance when Milwaukee lost to Pittsburgh earlier in the day. But the Cardinals’ lead in the NL Central was sliced to 2 1/2 games over the Pirates.

Bruce hit two of Cincinnati’s four homers as the Reds snapped a six-game losing streak. Todd Frazier and Devin Mesoraco also went deep.

Reds right-hander Alfredo Simon (15-10) allowed two runs and seven hits in six innings. He was working on a 17-inning scoreless string before St. Louis scored in the fifth.