The magic number for the St. Louis Cardinals to clinch the National League Central Division title is down to two games, as they defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates 3-0 on Monday night.
Matt Carpenter scored the winning run all the way from first base in the 9th inning when Jon Jay singled to right field and the ball was mishandled by both Gregor Polanco and then Andrew McCutchen. Mark Reynolds then followed with a 2-run homer into right center for the other runs.
The 7th inning had a scary moment as Stephen Piscotty and Peter Bourjos collided while converging on a ball in left center. Piscotty was motionless on the field and had to be carted off, but initial tests were all negative.
Jason Heyward showed off his Gold Glove form, throwing out Starling Marte at the plate from shallow left center. It was the 21st defensive run saved on the year by Heyward, who also added a sliding catch later in the game.
Trevor Rosenthal closed out the game for his 48th save of the season–a new single season record for the Cardinals.
The win is the 99th of the season for St. Louis, which will send Michael Wacha to the mound against Pittsburgh with the chance to clinch against the Pirates on Tuesday. The magic number is a lowered by any combination of a Cardinals victory or Pirates loss.
photo credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports