The St. Louis Cardinals won the World Series last year after reaching the playoffs as the National League wild-card team.
Now the Cardinals are trying to repeat that feat, thanks to this year’s creation of two wild-card berths in each league.
With their 6-3 win over the Chicago Cubs on Sunday, St. Louis held on to the second wild-card position by 2 ½ games over the Milwaukee Brewers, who also won, with nine games left on the Cardinals’ schedule.
St. Louis’ win, its sixth in its last seven games, was led by starting pitcher Kyle Lohse, who improved to 16-3. Allen Craig had a two-run double and shortstop Pete Kozma hit his first major league home run.
“I feel pretty good getting in there every day and working out the jitters,” Kozma said. “It’s also big to help your team out in a big spot.”
The Dodgers, with a 5-3 win over the Cincinnati Reds, remained three games behind the Cardinals in the wild-card race.
In the American League, the Detroit Tigers dropped a double-header to the Minnesota Twins — 10-4 and 2-1 in 10 innings in the nightcap — to remain one game behind the first-place Chicago White Sox in the AL Central.
The Angels defeated the White Sox, 4-1, behind Jered Weaver’s 19th victory to sweep their series and remain2 ½ games behind the Athletics for the second AL wild card.
Oakland edged the New York Yankees, 5-4, snapping the Yankees’ seven-game winning streak.
The Athletics rebounded from their stunning 14-inning loss Saturday, when they blew a four-run lead in the 13th inning. Oakland also lost to the Yankees in 10 innings Friday.
“To lose two games in extra innings is tough, especially when these games mean so much,” said Oakland’s Cliff Pennington, who singled home Sunday’s winning run in the sixth inning.
The Baltimore Orioles, who hold the other AL wild-card spot, also could have pulled into a tie with the Yankees for the AL East Division lead, but they lost to the Boston Red Sox, 2-1.
The Tampa Bay Rays kept their playoff hopes alive by beating the Toronto Blue Jays, 3-0, their fifth consecutive win. They remained 3 ½ games behind Oakland for the second wild card.
Times wire services contributed to this report.