(Milwaukee) (AP) – The St. Louis Cardinals clinched a playoff berth on the same day manager Mike Matheny turned 43.
Neither milestone caused much of a stir.
Washington’s 4-2 loss to Miami in a doubleheader opener Sunday assured the Cardinals of at least an NL wild-card berth.
“We want to win the division and then go on and go deep into October,” first baseman Matt Adams said before Sunday night’s game against Milwaukee.
The Reds beat the Pirates earlier Sunday 11-3, leaving both teams 2 1-2 games back of first-place St. Louis in the NL Central.
There was no champagne on ice in the clubhouse for clinching a third straight trip to the postseason. No victory cigars were being lit up.
Some players in the quiet clubhouse were more engrossed with the Colts-49ers game on the big-screen televisions. Others busily pounded away on their smartphones.
“We’re confident. We know we have a good ballclub. Everything’s clicking right now,” Adams said. “We’re happy but we want to keep taking things day by day and then win the division and then go from there.”
Matheny said he learned of the Nationals’ loss while in the weight room. There was some chit-chat, and Matheny said he would have a quick conversation about it with his club after Sunday night’s game.
Don’t expect the Cardinals to rest their players the final week just because they’re in, too.
“Right now, we’re nowhere near that,” Matheny said. “We’ve got a lot of baseball to win these next seven games.”
He’s feeling spry on his birthday, and not necessarily just because St. Louis is in the lead for a division title.
“This spring, I wasn’t so sure I would be able to say that, some back issues,” Matheny said. “But I feel really good right now.”
Left fielder Matt Holliday couldn’t say the same Sunday night. Initially in the starting lineup, Holliday was scratched because of back spasms. He was replaced by Shane Robinson.