While they missed the chance to punch their own ticket with a victory on Saturday, the St. Louis Cardinals still advanced to a fifth consecutive postseason appearance as the Arizona Diamondbacks blanked the San Francisco Giants 6-0 later in the day.
The Cardinals are the first team to secure a playoff spot this season and have a magic number of 11 games to clinch the National League Central title. Any combination of a Cardinals win or a Pittsburgh Pirates loss reduces that number.
If the playoffs were to begin with current records, the Cardinals would face the winner of a Wild Card playoff between the Chicago Cubs and Pirates and the Los Angeles Dodgers would face the New York Mets in the other divisional series matchup.
Earlier in the week, the Cardinals earned their 90th win of the season–the third consecutive year in reaching at least that many victories. The mark was last achieved by the team in 2000-02, which was the first time since doing so six straight times between 1941-46.
photo credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports