Cardinals clinch playoff spot with Nationals' loss

Cards guaranteed at least a wild-card berth after Nats' loss in doubleheader opener

MILWAUKEE (AP) 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 Reds beat the Pirates earlier Sunday 11-3, leaving both teams 2 1/2 games back of St. Louis going into the Brewers game.

"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.

The Cardinals clinched the same day Matheny turned 43.

Neither milestone caused much of a stir.

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."

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