Cardinals clinch NL Central title by beating Brewers 6-2

MILWAUKEE (AP) — The St. Louis Cardinals finally parted ways with the Milwaukee Brewers in early August after chasing them for much of the season.

MILWAUKEE (AP) — The St. Louis Cardinals finally parted ways with the Milwaukee Brewers in early August after chasing them for much of the season.

They haven’t looked back since, turning what had been an NL Central run into something of a runaway.

MVP candidate Paul Goldschmidt went 2 for 4 with a pair of RBIs as The Cardinals clinched the division title Tuesday night beating the Brewers 6-2 after six good innings from Miles Mikolas.

« With the guys we have and veteran leadership, we knew as soon as we smelled blood out there and took that lead, we knew we could run away, » Mikolas said.

Andrew Knizner hit a two-run homer to recover from an 0-for-22 slump as St. Louis sealed its Premier League crown since 2019 and fourth straight playoff berth by defeating the team that won the NL Central championship last year. It’s the third straight year the Cardinals have completed a playoff berth with a victory over the Brewers.

The Cardinals (90-65) guaranteed themselves at least a tie with second-place Milwaukee (82-72), and now they own the tiebreaker because Tuesday’s victory gave St. Louis an insurmountable lead of 10-8 in the season series.

St. Louis held a rather low-key celebration on the Brewers home court after the Finals, reacting not much differently than if they had just won a regular midseason game. The party didn’t begin until the Cardinals entered the locker room and started popping champagne.

« It’s just one step, guys, » Albert Pujols told his teammates at the start of the celebration. « Just remember that moment. That’s what we want to do in October and hopefully win the championship and bring it to the city of St. Louis. »

The Brewers remain 1 1/2 games behind Philadelphia for the NL’s last wild card. The Phillies won the season series with Milwaukee and would get the playoff offer if the teams were tied.

St. Louis trailed Milwaukee in the NL Central standings for much of the season and was four games down on the morning of July 31. The Cardinals are 37-17 and the Brewers are 25-28 since.

« We just haven’t played well enough all season to deserve to win the division, » Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich said. “You get a lot of what you deserve in sport and we for some reason haven’t been able to put it all together. I’m not saying we’re unlucky yet. We still have a chance to get a joker.

Tuesday’s clincher didn’t hold much suspense as St. Louis scored the first six runs to delight the Cardinals’ large contingent of fans at American Family Field.

Mikolas (12-13) struck out nine and allowed only four hits and one walk. The Brewers’ only run against him came in the sixth when Rowdy Tellez hit his 34th homer.

Milwaukee was trailing 2-0 when starter Adrian Houser (6-10) left with a right groin strain with an out in the fourth. Brewers manager Craig Counsell said Houser will likely be on the disabled list.

The Cardinals grabbed the top spot on August 6 and have been there ever since in an exciting season that has included Pujols hitting his 700th career homer, Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado making MVP arguments and Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina becoming the most prolific battery in MLB history.

« Extremely magical when you really think about it, » manager Oliver Marmol said. “What’s most important about all of this is you’ve got MVP candidates in our corners, you’ve got Yadi and Waino chasing 325 (starts together), you’ve got 700 from Albert, and they’ve never gotten away with each other. . They have always pointed towards victory and taking a step towards a championship. That says a lot about the character and culture of this club.

Molina and Pujols have already announced that this is their last season. Now that the Cardinals have won a division title, they want to keep winning to make sure these veterans come out in style.

« We want them to leave baseball with one more ring, of course, » Mikolas said.


Counsell said there’s a possibility that starting pitchers Aaron Ashby and Freddy Peralta could also work out of the bullpen during this stretch run now that they’ve returned from the injured list.

« I think there’s a chance you’ll see Freddy and Aaron in both roles, » Counsell said.

Peralta started and pitched two innings before Ashby worked 1 2/3 relief Sunday in the Brewers’ 2-1 loss at Cincinnati. This marked the first appearances for both since their activation.


LHP Jose Quintana (6-6, 3.03 ERA) starts for the Cardinals and RHP Brandon Woodruff (12-4, 3.18) pitches for the Brewers in the final regular season game between the teams on Wednesday.


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Steve Megargee, Associated Press


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