PITTSBURGH — The Cardinals are back in a familiar spot: atop the NL Central looking down at everyone else.
Jason Heyward's third-inning grand slam powered St. Louis over the Pirates 11-1 in the second game of a doubleheader Wednesday night, giving the Cardinals their third straight division title and 11th since 1994.
The Cardinals 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, gave St. Louis an early six-run lead. Tyler Lyons had little trouble making it hold up as the Cardinals reached 100 wins for the ninth time.
St. Louis players jogged out of their dugout to the infield in a businesslike celebration of their fifth straight postseason berth. Their seasonlong run atop baseball's most competitive division is all the more stunning considering the obstacles they had to overcome.