The St. Louis Cardinals clinched the National League Central crown with a 9-0 win over the Chicago Cubs on Sunday afternoon.
Jack Flaherty pitched seven innings of shutout baseball, and Dexter Fowler, Matt Carpenter, and Paul Goldschmidt all hit home runs as the Cardinals salvaged the final game of their season-ending three game set with the Cubs.
Derek Holland started the game for the Cubs and was shelled for seven earned runs as his record dropped to 2-5 on the season.
The Cubs did have one light-hearted moment, as Ben Zobrist made his first ever appearance as a pitcher. He pitched a scoreless eighth inning, striking out Yadier Molina in what may have been the final appearance of his Cubs career.
In Joe Maddon’s final game the offense was dormant, managing just three hits.
The Cardinals got on the board quickly, as Goldschmidt hit an RBI single in the first inning and Marcel Ozuna scored another run with a double play to give St. Louis a 2-0 lead.
They added two more runs in the second on a Fowler home run to center field, and then they broke the game wide open in the third inning with four more runs. Ozuna hit an RBI single, and Carpenter followed it up with a three-run home run to right field, making it an 8-0 game.
From there the Cardinals cruised to victory as they secured their spot in the National League Division Series, where they will take on the Atlanta Braves.