HOUSTON — Chris Carpenter and the Cardinals completed one of baseball's greatest comebacks, clinching the NL wild card Wednesday night with an 8-0 win over the Astros and a loss by the Braves.
St. Louis got its playoff spot when Atlanta fell to the Phillies 4-3 in 13 innings.
The Cardinals trailed the Braves by 10½ games on Aug. 25 but won 23 of their last 31. They will open the postseason Saturday at NL East champion Philadelphia. In the other NL matchup, Arizona visits Milwaukee.
"We had nothing to lose. We were already out of it," Carpenter said. "People were telling us we were done. We decided to go out and play and not embarrass ourselves and do what we can. We played ourselves back into it."
The Cardinals poured onto the field after Carpenter fielded J.D. Martinez's grounder for the final out. The celebration was brief as the team raced into the clubhouse to watch the Braves game.
"It was exciting, there's no doubt about it," Carpenter said.