Major League Roundup: Cardinals win; get wild card berth

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Associated Press
The Major League roundup …
HOUSTON ó Chris Carpenter came through like an ace and the St. Louis Cardinals earned the the NL wild card, beating the Houston Astros 8-0 on Wednesday.
The Cardinals and Atlanta began the day even in the wild card race.
“We had nothing to lose. We were already out of it,” Carpenter said. “People were telling us we were done. We decided to go out and play and not embarrass ourselves and do what we can. We played ourselves back into it.”
Carpenter (11-9) struck out 11 and allowed two hits in his 15th career complete-game shutout as St. Louis kept up its improbable September charge. The Cardinals won for the 23rd time in 31 games, having trailed Atlanta by 101/2 games on Aug. 25.
The Cardinals poured onto the field after Carpenter fielded J.D. Martinez’s weak grounder for the final out. The celebration was brief and muted, as the team raced into the clubhouse to watch the end of the game in Atlanta ó a Braves loss.
“It was exciting, there’s no doubt about it,” Carpenter said. “The way these guys have played the past month and a half has been amazing, every single night grinding, playing their butts off, not giving up.
“We continued to give ourselves an opportunity and now we are here.”
The teams entered Wednesday’s regular-season finales with 89-72 records.
The Cardinals jumped to a 5-0 lead against Brett Myers (7-14).
Albert Pujols and Lance Berkman drove in runs with singles, and David Freese doubled to left-center before Myers even recorded an out.
Nationals 3, Marlins 1
MIAMI ó Stephen Strasburg allowed one hit and struck out 10 in six scoreless innings to earn his first win since July 2010, and Florida bid their much-maligned stadium goodbye.
Strasburg (1-1) made his fifth start since returning from elbow surgery. He finished the season with 24 strikeouts in 24 innings and an ERA of 1.50.
Padres 9, Cubs 2
SAN DIEGO ó Will Venable hit his first career grand slam and Nick Hundley hit a three-run shot to lift the normally punchless San Diego Padres to a 9-2, season-ending victory over the Chicago Cubs.
Brewers 7, Pirates 3
MILWAUKEE ó Zack Grienke capped a perfect season at home to help Milwaukee clinch home-field advantage in the first round of playoffs.
Mets 3, Reds 0
NEW YORK ó Jose Reyes bunted for a base hit in the first inning against Cincinnati and was lifted for a pinch-runner but it was enough to give him the NL batting title with a .337 average.
Rockies 6, Giants 3
SAN FRANCISCO ó Kevin Kouzmanoff had three hits and drove in two runs.
ANAHEIM, Calif. ó Mike Napoli broke a tie in the ninth inning with his fourth homer in two games, and the Texas Rangers finally clinched home-field advantage in the AL division series with a 3-1 victory over the Los Angeles Angels.
Tigers 5, Indians 4
DETROIT ó Miguel Cabrera singled and doubled, all but wrapping up the American League batting title, and Jhonny Peralta hit a tiebreaking homer in the eighth for Detroit.
Twins 1, Royals 0
MINNEAPOLIS ó Trevor Plouffe’s RBI single with two outs in the ninth inning helped Minnesota stave off a 100-loss season.
Blue Jays 3, White Sox 2
CHICAGO ó Chris Sale issued a pair of bases-loaded walks in the ninth inning tpo end the White Soxís season.