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Cardinals clinch NL Central; first division crown since 2009

12:35 AM, Sep 28, 2013   |    comments
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Photo Gallery: Cardinals clinch NL Central - PHOTOS

Video: Cardinals clinch NL Central: Shelby Miller

Video: Cardinals clinch NL Central: Adam Wainwright

Video: Cardinals clinch NL Central: Jon Jay and Daniel Descalso

Video: Cardinals clinch NL Central: GM John Mozeliak

Video: Cardinals clinch NL Central

Video: Cardinals clinch NL Central: David Freese

Video: Cardinals clinch NL Central: Michael Wacha

Video: Cardinals clinch NL Central: Yadier Molina

Video: Cardinals clinch NL Central: Lance Lynn

Video: Cardinals clinch NL Central: Matt Carpenter and Matt Adam

Sep 27, 2013; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Cardinals third baseman David Freese (23) hits a solo home run against the Chicago Cubs during the third inning at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

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(KSDK Sports)  - The St. Louis Cardinals locked up their first division crown in four years Friday with a 7-0 win over the Chicago Cubs.

David Freese and Matt Holliday each hit solo home runs, Yadier Molina went 2- for-4 with three RBI and Lance Lynn tossed six scoreless innings for the NL Central champions.

Lynn (15-10) struck out nine, did not issue a walk and scattered three singles and a double in the rout.

The Cardinals, winners of a division that boasts three 90-plus win teams, kept pace with the Atlanta Braves for the best record in the NL with two games to play, though the Braves own the tiebreaker.

Cubs All-Star starter Travis Wood (9-12) was only scheduled to pitch one inning in an effort to save his arm while at least allowing him to reach the 200-inning milestone.

That inning did not go as planned, as the Cardinals pushed across three runs while batting around with four hits and two walks. Molina doubled in a pair, then scored on Jon Jay's base hit to center.

In the third, Freese took Brooks Raley into the bullpen beyond the wall in right-center, and two more runs in the fourth -- via Dioner Navarro's throwing error and Molina's groundout -- gave St. Louis a 6-0 cushion.

Holliday launched his 21st home run of the year in the sixth off Blake Parker, and the Cardinals' bullpen kept Chicago off the board over the final three innings.

Trevor Rosenthal was on the hill for the final out, retiring Darwin Barney on a groundout to start the celebration.

Game Notes
This is the Cardinals' 24th division title in franchise history ... St. Louis's 52 home wins matched its record for the current Busch Stadium, set in 2010 ... Lynn also eclipsed the 200-inning plateau this year ... Wood's ERA rose to 3.11. He was trying to become the second Cubs left-hander in the last 50 years to turn in a sub-3.00 ERA with at least 200 innings pitched ... Cardinals second baseman Matt Carpenter is one hit away from 200 this year.

 

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