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Rizzo's 2 HRs help Cubs beat Cardinals, clinch playoff spot

He has also covered colleges, including USC football and UCLA basketball.

Two Chicago Cubs stars - one an MVP candidate and one a potential Cy Young victor - brought their team to the brink of a division title on Wednesday.

"Si, San Luis", he said.

With just 17 games remaining, every win is critical.

Hoping to clinch the division title before they return to Wrigley Field for a 10-game homestand that starts Thursday night, the Cubs wasted no time getting on the board.

With another brilliant performance on the mound, Lester's ERA dropped to 2.40. The Cardinals didn't even face Jake Arrieta.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Madison Bumgarner missed a chance at his milestone 100th career win and San Francisco wasted another chance for a potential push in the NL West, losing to San Diego to be swept by the division's second-to-last-place club. Clinching the division will assure the Cubs of hosting Game 1 of the NLDS on October 7 at Wrigley Field.

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"If it weren't to occur, then it's up to whomever wants to write whatever they want to write".

"It'll be a good weekend to be at Wrigley for us", Rizzo said. "Why not? It would be a nice thing to do". Chicago's magic number is three, and the series in St. Louis wraps up Thursday. San Francisco leads the wild-card race by a half-game over the Mets, with St. Louis another half-game back.

Reyes entered the game with the bases loaded and two out in the second. "He did it so many years, so it's a really good feeling". He gave up six hits and four runs over 5 2/3 innings, walking two and striking out a season-high nine hitters. Toronto played its second straight game without slugger Josh Donaldson because of a hip injury, but the team hopes to have him back in the lineup on Wednesday. They probably didn't know their starting pitching was quite this dominant.

That bodes well for the future, but the here and now tells us this team has as good a chance as any to win the World Series. "Tip your hat and move on". The Cardinals have won exactly one series at home all season against a team that now has a winning record, the San Francisco Giants. They're the only two lefties to reach 30/100 in multiple seasons.

"It's not like it's a secret", Gyorko said. We've just got to go on the road and execute and do what we've got to do to get victories. Brandon Moss snapped a 2-2 stalemate with a blast in the sixth, four innings after Aledmys Diaz tied it with a round-tripper. On Wednesday, he struck out eight of them. While this Lester doesn't get it up there in terms of velocity, he's just as good of a pitcher, if not better.

At the outset of Wednesday's game, Martinez looked up to the task of matching Lester. Jorge Soler hit a pinch-hit single, Kris Bryant an RBI double, another Rizzo homer, and it was suddenly 7-0-to the loud delight of the large Cubs contingent at Busch. Fans are excited. "I can imagine postseason is going to be ridiculous", said fan Fia Torres. "It's going to happen sometimes, with that kind of velocity and when they can sit on one particular pitch". The Cubs travel to the Boston Red Sox ( three games, April 28-30 ), play at Baltimore ( three games, July 14-16 ) and play at Tampa Bay ( two games, September 19-20 ). Inevitably, though, the Cubs will be standing between them and their ultimate goal.

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