Cards take NL Central title with win in Pittsburgh

Thu Oct 1, 2015 12:13am EDT
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(The Sports Xchange) - The St. Louis Cardinals waited until after their game against the Pittsburgh Pirates ended on Wednesday before celebrating their third successive National League Central title, though they could have started after the third inning.

The Cardinals wrapped up the division title with an 11-1 rout of the Pittsburgh Pirates as Jason Heyward had a third-inning grand slam among his three hits.

Starter Tyler Lyons also pitched seven scoreless innings in the second game of a double header. The Pirates had won the first game 8-2, which initially delayed the celebrations.

The Cardinals (100-59) reached 100 wins for the first time since 2005 on their way to a club-record fifth consecutive post-season appearance.

"I was the guy who got the big hit but anybody on this team could be the hero," Heyward said.

"We have guys up and down the lineup who can hit and a great pitching staff. That's why we're sitting here on Sept. 30 with 100 wins and a division title. We have a great team."

The Pirates (96-63) are assured of finishing second to the Cardinals for the third consecutive year despite having the second-most wins in the major leagues.

"We really had to earn this," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said.

"I knew it was going to come down to the wire because we were battling two great teams in our division in the Pirates and (Chicago) Cubs.   Continued...

Sep 30, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; St. Louis Cardinals right fielder Jason Heyward (22) greets center fielder Jon Jay (19) as Jay scores a run against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the seventh inning at PNC Park.  Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports