The St. Louis Cardinals clinched their third straight NL Central title with a road rout of the Pittsburgh Pirates Wednesday night.
Jason Heyward jacked a third inning grand slam and Tony Cruz added a two-run insurance bomb to fuel the 11-1 rout. Tyler Lyons pitched seven scoreless innings to secure the victory.
The triumph followed a trouncing in the first half of the twin bill necessitated by Tuesday’s rain out. Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli blasted a seventh inning grand slam to put the explanation point on the victory. Gerrit Cole moved to 19-8 with the win.
But with the Cardinals’ magic number at two, and St. Louis playing the one divisional rival not yet eliminated, the Pirates needed to win both ends of the double header to stay alive in the NL Central. They came up short in the encore game.
The win gave the Cardinals their 10th division title in the last 20 seasons. The 11-1 blowout eliminated the Pirates from the NL Central race but the team gets a chance to even the score in the postseason as a wild-card entry.
The Cardinals’ 100-59 record ensures them the best in the majors with three games still remaining.