ST. LOUIS–The St. Louis Cardinals extended a franchise record winning streak and made it even sweeter by clinching the second National League Wild Card spot in the process Tuesday night, defeating the Milwaukee Brewers 6-2 at Busch Stadium.
In a scene that has become familiar during the now 17-game winning streak, the Cardinals found a way to capitalize on an opponent’s mistake to bring runs home. In his 17th year with the Cardinals, Adam Wainwright won his 17th game of the season to get the Cardinals their 17th win in a row.
With the game tied at two in the bottom of the fifth, a Tyler O’Neill single to right went through the glove of outfielder Avisail Garcia, allowing Paul Goldschmidt to score. The Cardinals tacked on an additional run on a Nolan Arenado sacrifice fly to score Tyler O’Neill.
Wainwright went six innings for St. Louis, allowing two runs on seven hits. His work at the plate, a point of personal pride over the course of his career, was a key to Tuesday’s action.
A two-run Luis Urias home run in the fourth staked the Brewers to a lead, but the Cardinals answered back in the bottom half with a solo home run from Dylan Carlson, and tied it on a safety squeeze bunt from Wainwright to bring home Harrison Bader.
Three St. Louis relievers T.J. McFarland, Luis Garcia and Giovanny Gallegos combined to take the game the rest of the way, with Jose Rondon and Nolan Arenado adding home runs to provide the final margin.
The win means the Cardinals don’t need to scoreboard watch to see what the Reds, Phillies and Braves are doing the rest of the way. Atlanta defeated the Phillies, cutting the Cardinals’ Magic Number to a half game before their own contest was complete. Attention now turns to the National League West, where the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers are battling it out to find out which team will win the division crown and which team will face St. Louis in the one-game Wild Card playoff game on Wednesday, October 6.
Wainwright called the postgame festivities Tuesday a “good start. We’re very focused…..we’ve got some games to win…..planning on four more of these,” referring to the number of playoff series the Cardinals would need to win a World Series.
“It never gets old,” he said.
Manager Mike Shildt noted that for the first time in a while, the Cardinals have clinched a playoff berth with time left to spare in the season, meaning that the team can get its pitching staff set up for a postseason run, and even with a 17 game winning streak, get rest for the lineup.