ST. LOUIS — The way everything has gone for the Cardinals this season, Kolten Wong knew getting into the playoffs the easy way was probably too much to ask for.
A win in Saturday night’s game would have clinched a spot, but the Cardinals could do nothing offensively against Brandon Woodruff and now will go into the final day of the season – maybe – to try to secure their spot in the postseason.
“From the COVID on, tough games, tough schedule, but it wouldn’t be any other way or more fitting for us to take it tomorrow,” Wong said. “Confidence still high, we know we’re a good team, we’re going to come in ready to go.”
Adam Wainwright gave up back-to-back homers to Ryan Braun and Daniel Vogelbach in a four-pitch span in the fourth inning which provided all the runs the Brewers needed as they kept their playoff hopes alive for another day.
The loss allowed the Cubs to clinch the NL Central title but the Reds also lost to the Twins to remain in a virtual tie with the Cardinals for second place, and a guaranteed spot in the playoffs. A win on Sunday by the Cardinals, or a loss by the Reds, would give them the second spot as they own the tiebreaker if the teams are tied after Sunday’s games.
“Let’s go, let’s do it,” said manager Mike Shildt. “We’ve been playing all year for it. We would have rather done it tonight but heck we have a great opportunity tomorrow and we will show up and get after it. I feel really good about tomorrow.”
Shildt said he is not thinking about what would have to happen on Sunday that would force the Cardinals to get on a plane and fly to Detroit to make up a doubleheader against the Tigers. Those games will be necessary only if it affects the Cardinals getting into the playoffs since there is no way they could catch the Cubs.
“I’m not aware of anything beyond tomorrow,” Shildt said. “We will go at it full bore tomorrow. We will get after it all day long.”
Here is how the game broke down:
At the plate: The Cardinals had only three baserunners in eight innings against Woodruff, leadoff singles by Wong in the first and Yadier Molina in the second and a walk to Matt Carpenter with one out in the eighth. Woodruff retired 19 batters in a row between Molina’s hit and the walk to Carpenter and finished with 10 strikeouts.
On the mound: Wainwright had faced Braun 83 times since he last homered off him, as part of a two-home run game on May 12, 2008. Vogelbach followed with his home run which staked the Brewers to the 2-0 lead. They added another run in the seventh before Andrew Miller got out of a bases-loaded jam by striking out Braun.
Key stat: The Cardinals fell to 0-9 when they had a chance to go a season-high three games over .500.
Worth noting: Braun’s homer was his 15th at Busch Stadium 3, moving him back into a tie with Joey Votto for the most home runs by a player who never played for the Cardinals since the stadium opened in 2006 … Paul Goldschmidt is the only Cardinal who has played in all 57 games so far this season.
Looking ahead: Austin Gomber will get the start in Sunday’s 2:15 p.m. game in what is scheduled to be the last game of the regular season unless the games are needed on Monday in Detroit.