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Cardinals claim NL wild card

HOUSTON (AP) — Chris Carpenter and St. Louis completed one of the more remarkable comebacks in baseball history, clinching the NL wild card Wednesday night with an 8-0 win over Houston and a later loss by Atlanta.

The Cardinals got their playoff spot when the Braves fell to Philadelphia 4-3 in 13 innings.

St. Louis trailed Atlanta by 10 1/2 games on Aug. 25. The Cardinals won 23 of their last 31 games.

The Cardinals will open the postseason on Saturday at NL East champion Philadelphia.

Carpenter (11-9) struck out 11 and allowed two hits in his 15th career complete-game shutout as St. Louis kept up its improbable September charge. The Cardinals won for the 23rd time in 31 games, having trailed Atlanta by 10 1/2 games on Aug. 25.

Houston took a 5-0 lead in the first inning against Brett Myers (7-14).

Albert Pujols and Lance Berkman drove in runs with singles, and David Freese doubled before Myers even recorded an out. Berkman scored when Skip Schumaker’s hard grounder ricocheted off Myers’ glove for an infield hit, and Freese came home on Nick Punto’s single to right.

Phillies 4, Braves 3,

13 innings

ATLANTA (AP) — Atlanta closer Craig Kimbrel surrendered the tying run in the ninth, and Hunter Pence came through with a two-out, run-scoring single in the 13th to give Philadelphia the win that ended the Braves season without a trip to the playoffs that looked like a certainty just a few weeks ago.

The game ended more than an hour after St. Louis routed Houston 8-0 to claim at least a share of the wild card. The Cardinals earned it outright when David Herndon earned his first career save by getting Freddie Freeman to hit into a season-ending double play.

The Braves were 10 1/2 games ahead of St. Louis before play on Aug. 26. They were still up by 8 1/2 games on the morning of Sept. 6. They became the first team in major league history to blow a lead of at least eight games for a playoff spot in September.

The Braves lost five straight to end the regular season and were 9-18 in the final month.