ST. LOUIS — Dylan Carlson, Nolan Arenado and Jose Rondon homered to back Adam Wainwright, and the St. Louis Cardinals extended their winning streak to 17 games and clinched a National League wild-card berth with a 6-2 win over the Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday night.
St. Louis will play in the NL wild-card game on Oct. 6 at the Los Angeles Dodgers or San Francisco Giants, whichever team does not win the NL West. The postseason trip will be the third in a row for the Cardinals. Milwaukee already was assured of the NL Central title.
“To be able to go to the playoffs is what it’s all about. I’m just thankful to be a part of this team,” Arenado said. “This team is unbelievable, we’ve carried each other. I’m just happy to be a part of it. This is why I’m here.”
St. Louis was 71-69 on Sept. 11 before the winning streak, the longest in team history and the longest in the major leagues since Cleveland took 22 in a row in 2017. The Cardinals are on the longest winning streak from Sept. 1 on since the 1935 Chicago Cubs won 21 in a row.
“Seventeen in a row, you can’t plan for that,” Cardinals star Paul Goldschmidt said. “But going into this last month, we just knew that we needed to win series. If we could win series, we could gain ground. But 17 … you can’t explain that.”
Wainwright (17-7) allowed two runs and seven hits in six innings, throwing 102 pitches and stranding seven runners. Wainwright has won six consecutive decisions for the Cardinals and 10 of his past 11. He is 4-0 in September and improved to 2-1 in four starts against the Brewers this season.
Goldschmidt and Tyler O’Neill each had two hits in an 11-hit attack.
“I’ve never been a part of a group that just keeps coming,” Arenado said. “It’s unbelievable, we just keep fighting. It’s a collective group.”
With the score tied at 2 in the fifth, Goldschmidt doubled off Jandel Gustave (1-1) and O’Neill followed with a single to right that gave him 22 RBIs in the past 20 games. The ball went under the glove of Avisail Garcia for a two-base error, and Nolan Arenado’s sacrifice fly made it 4-2.
“We just tried to get in anyway we could,” Goldschmidt said. “We knew that if we did what we needed to do, the other teams wouldn’t matter.”
Rondon homered with two outs in the sixth. And Arenado’s 34th home run, a two-out drive in the seventh, tied Scott Rolen (2004) and Fernando Tatis (1999) for most among Cardinals third basemen in a season.
“A lot of credit goes to the coaching staff. No matter what was happening this year, every day they came in the same,” Goldschmidt said. “They kept encouraging us, even at times when we had lost a lot of games in a row, and had made a lot of mistakes.”
Milwaukee’s Brandon Woodruff allowed two runs and seven hits in four innings.
The only bit of bad news for St. Louis came when it was announced that catcher Yadier Molina was scratched. According to ESPN Stats & Information research, that was just the second time all season that he hasn’t started a game when Wainwright was on the mound. Molina has also started 12 of the Cardinals’ games during the win streak. He is day-to-day.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.