MILWAUKEE — With the NL Central crown in their pocket and time to kill on their hands, the Cardinals cannot do anything to change their postseason position in the coming days, but they had one more last chance to shape who they might face.
The Milwaukee Brewers, eliminated from a second consecutive division title by losing to the Cardinals on Tuesday, remain in the thick of a wild-card race and a chance to create a rematch with the Cardinals in October.
If they could resist a rally from a rookie-infused Cardinals’ lineup.
The Cardinals got the tying run to third base in the seventh and eighth innings against All-Star Devin Williams. A dynamic double play from Kolten Wong saved Milwaukee in seventh, and Williams took care of the eighth on his own with two strikeouts to cool the Cardinals and carry the Brewers to a 5-1 victory Wednesday at American Family Field.
The win moved Milwaukee a half game behind Philadelphia for the third and final wild-card berth into the NL playoffs. The team that claims the third wild card will travel to St. Louis a week from Friday to play a best-of-three playoff series, all at Busch Stadium. The Phillies have lost nine of their past 12 games to keep the Brewers in play, and the Cardinals had a chance Wednesday to complete a series sweep and give the Phillies an assist. Either potential opponent boasts starters that could shift a series regardless of seeding, and the Cardinals got a reminder of that with Brewers’ right-hander Brandon Woodruff’s 10 strikeouts Wednesday.
Woodruff (13-4) left the game with Milwaukee leading by two runs, but it wasn’t until an uprising in the eighth that Milwaukee got a three-run bounce and a comfortable gap. With Giovanny Gallegos in to escape a trap set by JoJo Romero two walks allowed, Christian Yelich drew a bases-loaded walk to push home a run. Victor Caratini followed with a ground-rule double that scored two more runs.
The Brewers close their regular season with six more home games – three against Miami and three against Arizona. The two fourth-place teams have a combined .417 winning percentage on the road.
Quintana builds momentum for October
If Wednesday’s start was Jose Quintana’s final start before the Cardinals chose whether to pitch him in Game 1 or Game 2 of a playoff series, the lefty finished the regular season exactly as he spent the second half of it with the Cardinals.
Steadily shouldering innings.