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Cardinals' Path to the Postseason: Sept. 23, 2012

Cardinals' Path to the Postseason: Sept. 23, 2012

Cardinals' Path to the Postseason: Sept. 23, 2012
CHICAGO -- The Cardinals didn't extend their National League Wild Card lead over the Brewers with a 6-3 victory on Sunday. But the club did maintain its 2 1/2-game cushion in the race.

St. Louis has nine games remaining to hold onto that second NL Wild Card berth. At 82-71, the Cardinals appear to have only two serious pursuers. The Brewers, who have won eight of their last 10 games, also won on Sunday to remain 2 1/2 games back of the Cards.

The Dodgers, who defeated the NL Central champion Reds, 5-3, on Sunday night, sit three games out.

Wells Fargo

"We're just taking it a day at a time," 16-game winner Kyle Lohse said after Sunday's win. "That's as cliché as it gets, but we've really got to. This day is over, but [Monday] we have to get ready for Houston. We have to turn the page and keep it going.

"We can't look at winning a series. We have to look at each day and trying to win that game. I think we did a good job here. We had a kick in the gut here the first day and bounced back and won two good games the last two days."

Monday's key games to watch (all times ET)

Cardinals (Lynn, 16-7) at Astros (TBD), 8:05 p.m. Preview >

Brewers (Estrada, 4-6) at Nationals (Zimmermann, 11-8), 1:05 p.m. Preview >

D-backs (Cahill, 12-11) at Rockies (Chatwood, 4-5), 8:40 p.m. Preview >

If the postseason started today ...

This is how the teams would match up: Postseason Bracket »

Postseason 101

Magic numbers
To calculate a team's magic number, take the number of games it has remaining and add one. Then subtract the difference in the number of losses between that team and its closest pursuer.

Tiebreaker scenarios
A tiebreaker game will be played to determine a division winner, even if the tied clubs are assured of participating in the postseason. If a division championship tiebreaker is necessary, the head-to-head record between the clubs will determine home-field advantage. If the head-to-head record is tied, then the division record will be the next tiebreaker.

If two clubs are tied for the two Wild Card berths, home-field advantage will be determined by the head-to-head record between the clubs. If the head-to-head record is tied, then the division record will be the next tiebreaker.

Tiebreaker rules »

2012 postseason schedule
Wild Card playoff games: Oct. 5
Division Series: Oct. 6-12
AL Championship Series: Oct. 13-21
NL Championship Series: Oct. 14-22
World Series: Oct. 24-Nov. 1

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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