Cardinals Rout Pirates, Clinch 3rd Straight NL Central Title

St Louis CardinalsPITTSBURGH (AP) — The St. Louis Cardinals are back in a familiar spot: on top of the NL Central looking down at everyone else.

Jason Heyward’s third-inning grand slam powered the Cardinals over the Pittsburgh Pirates 11-1 in the second game of a doubleheader on Wednesday night, giving St. Louis its third straight division title and 11th since 1994.

This one may be among the most impressive. The Cardinals and assured themselves of the best record in the majors this season despite losing several stars to injury for long stretches.

Heyward’s shot off Bobby LaFromboise, who replaced an ineffective Charlie Morton (9-9), gave St. Louis an early six-run lead. Tyler Lyons (3-1) had little trouble making it hold up as the Cardinals reached the 100-win plateau for the ninth time.

Francisco Cervelli hit his second career grand slam, Gerrit Cole pitched seven solid innings and the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the St. Louis Cardinals 8-2 in the doubleheader opener.