MILWAUKEE (AP) The Milwaukee Brewers clinched the NL Central title with help from the MLB-leading Atlanta Braves.
Milwaukee claimed the division crown for the third time in six seasons Tuesday night, despite a 4-1 loss to the last-place St. Louis Cardinals and with the help of a come-from-behind win by the Braves.
Milwaukee clinched its second division crown in three seasons when the Chicago Cubs dropped a 7-6 decision to the Braves. Atlanta overcame a six-run deficit to eliminate the wild-card contending Cubs from the division race.
The Milwaukee crowd roared as the ninth inning of the Cubs-Braves game was shown on the scoreboard.
“You could just sense something was going on in the stands a little bit," Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell said. "Then I turned behind me and looked down the tunnel and some of the clubhouse guys were scurrying around way too fast for us losing 4-1. So I knew something was going on then.”
The Brewers had clinched no worse than a wild-card berth on Friday, with a 16-1 win over the Marlins in Miami. But they missed two chances to clinch the division title by losing to Miami on Saturday and Sunday, scoring a total of five runs in those two games.
“You dream of this, but you know how hard it is to get here,” principal owner Mark Attanasio said. "Last year, we felt we were going to be in the same position and we were reminded of how hard it is to clinch. Everybody in that clubhouse built off that.
“You never know how you're going to get there. This was great to celebrate with all our fans.”
Milwaukee rookie Sal Frelick said: "It's so fun and something you want to do," as teammates poured beer down the back of his new Central Division Champions shirt. "It's something I've never experienced. It's so fun, something I want to do for a long time.”
St. Louis starter Miles Mikolas (8-13) allowed one run and five hits in seven innings, as the Cardinals tried to play the role of spoilers. He struck out five batters and walked two, throwing 101 pitches.
Mikolas had given up five earned runs in five innings in his previous start, a loss to the Brewers in St. Louis.
“He's been beat up, so he needed it,” manager Oliver Marmol said of Mikolas' outing. “To navigate a lineup like that and being able to go seven was good.”
Milwaukee took a 1-0 lead in the third inning. Christian Yelich, who walked, scored on a double by Carlos Santana. But William Contreras, who singled in the fifth, was the only other baserunner for the rest of the game.
Milwaukee batted 1 for 6 with runners in scoring position.
Ryan Helsley struck out all three batters in the ninth inning for his 13th save.
Milwaukee starter Adrian Houser (7-5) retired the first nine batters, then allowed four runs.
The Cardinals took a 2-1 lead in the fourth inning on a double by Richie Palacios. They extended their lead to 4-1 in the fifth following a two-base error by second baseman Brice Turang.
After Andrew Knizner walked, José Fermín hit a grounder that Turang tried to glove while touching second base with his foot. The ball got past him into center field and Knizner advanced to third base.
Knizner scored on Masyn Winn’s sacrifice fly, but centerfielder Sal Frelick threw out Fermin at third. Tommy Edman followed with a solo home run, his 13th.
Celebrating on the field with Brewers players and fans who remained in the stands, Brewers radio announcer Bob Uecker, 89, a former major league catcher, joked that he would return as a player. “I will start spring training a week after we win the World Series,” he said.
Adam Wainwright said he is ending his career. The 42-year-old right-hander, a three-time All-Star, pitched all 18 of his seasons with the Cardinals, who won the 2006 World Series in his second year. Wainwright won his 200th game in his final start, Sept. 18. It was the longest outing this season for Wainwright (5-11, 7.40 ERA). “I felt kind of like Kevin Costner in that movie where I’m thinking, I can do this one more time,” he said of using a curveball to retire Brewer Josh Donaldson with his final pitch.
Cardinals: LHP JoJo Romero (knee tendinitis), who went on the injured list on Sept. 4, won’t be with the team in Milwaukee, Marmol said.
Brewers: Placed RHP Trevor Megill on the paternity list and recalled RHP Colin Rea from Triple-A Nashville.
The second of the three-game series pits Brewers LHP Wade Miley (9-4, 3.20 ERA) against Cardinals LHP Zack Thompson (5-7, 4.57 ERA).
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