Chicago at St. Louis

Chi. Cubs
St. Louis
W: J. Kelly (10-5) L: J. Samardzija (8-13)
HR: CHC - None   STL - None

Cardinals beat Cubs, clinch home field in NL postseason wire reports

ST. LOUIS -- Matt Carpenter came up empty Sunday in his bid for a 200-hit season. St. Louis' second baseman could not have cared less.

Carpenter and the Cardinals clinched home-field advantage throughout the National League playoffs when they beat the Chicago Cubs 4-0 for their sixth straight win.

"That last one (hit) was tough to find," Carpenter said after going 0 for 4. "From an individual standpoint 200 hits is a cool thing, but more importantly we won a big game today and have the best record in the National League."

With the top seed, the Central League champions will host the wild-card winner in Game 1 of an NL division series on Thursday.

Joe Kelly (10-5) pitched 5 1/3 innings of three-hit ball in relief of Jake Westbrook as the Cardinals matched a season high winning streak to finish 97-65, their most since reaching 100 in 2005. St. Louis also won six straight from April 30-May 5.

The Cardinals have won eight of nine and 17 of 22.

Carpenter finished with a league-leading 199 hits. He struck out in the seventh in his last opportunity. Carpenter said he felt a little pressure in his at-bats Sunday.

"It's one of those things, when guys are chasing certain (goals) it can kind of get to them a little," he said. "I don't know if it did or not."

The milestone was important to manager Mike Matheny, who said Carpenter's failure was the lone damper on the afternoon.

"He was pushing hard, "he said. "But what a season."

Carpenter also finished first in the NL in runs (126), doubles (55) and multihit games (63).

"Now all those stats go out the window, it's just about winning games," he said. "But, I'm pleased and proud with what I've done."

Jon Jay, Daniel Descalso, Shane Robinson and Tony Cruz drove in runs for St. Louis.

The Cubs, who lost 41 of their last 59 games, finish last in the Central at 66-96.

Chicago manager Dale Sveum, who is scheduled to meet Monday with Cubs management to discuss his future, says a lack of offense hurt his club the last month.

"We didn't score a lot," he said. "When you're facing the Cardinals, Reds, Pirates, Atlanta, it's going to be tough."

St. Louis starter Westbrook pitched one inning before Kelly came on in relief. Westbrook is not likely to be on the postseason roster and the Cardinals are not expected to pick up his option for next season.

Kelly struck out five in his first relief appearance since re-joining the starting rotation on July 6.

"It was a little different, but my mindset was the same the whole time," Kelly said. "I felt like I was commanding my fastball on both sides of the plate. I was just trying to keep a high level of focus and attack these guys."

Matheny called it, "one of his best all-around outings."

Randy Choate, Carlos Martinez and Kevin Siegrist contributed to the five-man, five-hit shutout.

The Cardinals scored twice in the fourth off Chicago starter Jeff Samardzija (8-13) to take a 3-0 lead. Matt Adams and Descalso hit back-to-back doubles to push the advantage to 2-0. Robinson followed with a run-scoring single.

Samardzija gave up three runs on eight hits in six innings.

"I had a strong year, I felt good," Samardzija said. "I pitched every start, threw a lot of innings and had a lot of strikeouts."

Jay, who drove in a run with a single in the third, extended his hitting streak to a career-high 14 games with a single in the first.

St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina took the field to start the game, but was removed before the first pitch. Molina received a standing ovation as he walked to the dugout. Right fielder Carlos Beltran was taken out at the start of the fifth inning and also left to a loud applause.

"Today, we were proud to do something that could honor our guys," Matheny said. "The fans like to acknowledge our guys."


St. Louis recognized the 50th anniversary of Stan Musial's last game as a Cardinal with commemorative patches on their uniforms. Musial went 2 for 3 and singled in his final at-bat of a 3-2 win over Cincinnati. ... Matheny indicated that Adam Wainwright (19-9, 2.94) will start the first game of the NL division series. The Cubs closed the season losing 41 of their last 59. ...A crowd of 44,808 gave the Cardinals their 25th sellout of the season.

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
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St. Louis' Matt Carpenter breaks his bat and goes hitless, but still leads the league with 199 hits. (USATSI)
St. Louis' Matt Carpenter breaks his bat and goes hitless, but still leads the league with 199 hits. (USATSI)

Players of the Game
St. Louis

J. Jay
AB 3
R 1
H 2
HR 0

J. Samardzija
IP 6.0
H 8
ER 3
BB 0
K 4

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Logan Watkins, 2B4010000 .211
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Nate Schierholtz, RF3020001 .251
   a-Darnell McDonald, PH1010000 .302
Ryan Sweeney, CF4000013 .266
Donnie Murphy, 3B2000020 .255
Brian Bogusevic, LF3000001 .273
J.C. Boscan, C3000000 .222
Jeff Samardzija, P2000010 .113
   Hector Rondon, P0000000 .000
   b-Junior Lake, PH1000000 .284
   Pedro Strop, P0000000 .000
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b-flied out for Rondon in the 8th
2B - Logan Watkins (1, Kelly), Anthony Rizzo (40, Westbrook), Nate Schierholtz 2 (32, Kelly)
Team LOB - 5
DP - Watkins-Castro-Rizzo
Chicago (N.L.) Cubs
Jeff Samardzija (L,8-13) 6833040 4.34
Hector Rondon 1000120 4.77
Pedro Strop 0.2111110 4.55
Zac Rosscup 0.1000010 1.35
Pitches-Strikes - Jeff Samardzija 95-59, Hector Rondon 22-12, Pedro Strop 23-13, Zac Rosscup 5-4
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jeff Samardzija 8-4, Hector Rondon 1-0, Pedro Strop 1-0
Batters Faced - Jeff Samardzija 24, Hector Rondon 4, Pedro Strop 4, Zac Rosscup 1
St. Louis Cardinals
Matt Carpenter, 3B4000012 .318
Jon Jay, CF3121110 .276
Carlos Beltran, RF2000011 .296
   Adron Chambers, RF-LF2000000 .154
Matt Adams, 1B4120022 .284
Yadier Molina, C0000000 .319
   Tony Cruz, C4011012 .203
Daniel Descalso, SS3111000 .238
   a-Pete Kozma, PH-SS1000011 .217
Shane Robinson, LF-RF3011000 .250
Kolten Wong, 2B3010010 .153
Jake Westbrook, P0000000 .176
   Joe Kelly, P2110002 .152
   Randy Choate, P0000000 .000
   b-Brock Peterson, PH0000100 .077
   Carlos Martinez, P0000000 .000
   Kevin Siegrist, P0000000 .000
a-struck out for Descalso in the 8th
b-walked for Choate in the 7th
2B - Matt Adams (14, Samardzija), Tony Cruz (6, Strop), Daniel Descalso (25, Samardzija), Joe Kelly (1, Samardzija)
RBI - Jon Jay (67), Tony Cruz (13), Daniel Descalso (43), Shane Robinson (16)
2-OUT RBI - Jon Jay (26), Tony Cruz (6), Daniel Descalso (14), Shane Robinson (7)
CS - Jon Jay (5, 2nd base by Samardzija/Boscan)
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St. Louis Cardinals
Jake Westbrook 1100000 4.63
Joe Kelly (W,10-5) 5.1300050 2.69
Randy Choate (H,15) 0.2000000 2.29
Carlos Martinez (H,3) 1000000 5.08
Kevin Siegrist 1100000 0.45
HBP - Murphy (by Joe Kelly)
Pitches-Strikes - Jake Westbrook 14-9, Joe Kelly 67-47, Randy Choate 1-1, Carlos Martinez 10-6, Kevin Siegrist 18-13
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jake Westbrook 2-1, Joe Kelly 7-4, Randy Choate 1-0, Carlos Martinez 1-2, Kevin Siegrist 3-0
Batters Faced - Jake Westbrook 4, Joe Kelly 20, Randy Choate 1, Carlos Martinez 3, Kevin Siegrist 4
Game Information
Attendance - 44808
Game Time - 2:34
Temperature - 70
Umpires - Home - Dan Iassogna, First Base - Gerry Davis, Second Base - Brian Knight, Third Base - Mark Carlson