"I don't think any of the guys will tell you it matters," winning pitcher Glendon Rusch said after Friday's 5-3 victory over the Cardinals. "They're in a position where they're  games ahead of everybody. It's kind of [anticlimactic] for them.
"I think they're getting themselves ready for the first round of the playoffs, not worrying about where they're going to crack champagne."
Manager Dusty Baker was even more blasé.
"If it does happen here, I just hope they don't have me come over to help them clean it up," Baker said.
The Cardinals, who clinched a tie Thursday night and already have the tiebreaker against Houston in hand, went to their hotel to await the results of the Astros-Brewers game, which Houston won 2-1. Manager Tony La Russa has declared the party won't start until the Cardinals have won the title outright.
Meanwhile, the Cubs moved within two games of .500 at 73-75 and clinched the season series against St. Louis for the first time since 2001, improving to 9-5 with two games remaining.
"You have to take something out of the season," Baker said.
On an otherwise lazy day, Jerry Hairston had another adventurous afternoon, hurting his left knee while fouling a ball off it in the first inning and getting ejected in the fourth after losing his composure with first-base umpire Larry Vanover.
Instead of going out to left field after being called out on strikes, Hairston continued an argument with Vanover from the at-bat, suggesting in no uncertain terms he didn't go around on a bunt attempt that was ruled a strike on an appeal to first.
Crew chief Randy Marsh threw Hairston out, and Hairston had to be restrained by first-base coach Gary Matthews.
"He was not going to his position," Marsh said. "He was running directly toward right field. Some of his comments were worthy of being ejected, and I took care of it because it was right in front of me."
Hairston said he "lost it" when he took a look at the video after being called out in strikes.
"When I saw it It's just been frustrating," Hairston said. "I don't really argue a whole lot. I can't remember the last time I've been thrown out of a game. It has to be three, four, five years."
Television cameras showed Hairston's father, former Sox player Jerry Hairston, getting up and leaving his seat after the ejection.
"I'm going to get spanking when I get home," Jerry Jr. said. "He knows as well as anybody. My dad was a competitor, but he was real quiet. Me? I'm a little different. I get my feistiness from my mom."