The Milwaukee Brewers will be going back to the postseason for the first time since 2011, clinching at least a wild card position in the National League playoffs with a 2-1 win over the St. Louis Cardinals.

Milwaukee Brewers playoffs
The Milwaukee Brewers clinched their first playoff berth since 2011 by beating the St. Louis Cardinals 2-1 on Wednesday night. (Image: AP/Jeff Roberson)

The Brewers are currently a half-game behind the Chicago Cubs, who lead the NL Central and also clinched a playoff position thanks to their own victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Baserunning Error Ends Cardinals Rally

Wednesday’s win completed a critical three-game sweep over the Cardinals for the Brewers, who now hold a four-game lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers for the top wild card spot in the NL. In contrast, the Cardinals have seen their three-game losing streak put them one game behind the Dodgers for the second and final wild card position.

The critical moment in Wednesday’s game came in the bottom of the eighth inning. After Brewers third baseman Mike Moustakas committed a throwing error on a ground ball, pinch runner Adolis Garcia attempted to score the tying run all the way from first base. But as he rounded third base, Garcia stumbled and fell. By the time he had gotten back to his feet, he was easily tagged out at the plate.

“I saw him go down and luckily we were able to put a tag on him and get him out,” Brewers reliever Josh Hader said after the game. “I’ve never seen that before, but it was definitely good on our side.”

The Brewers enjoyed a postgame champagne celebration after learning that they had clinched a playoff spot – a luxury afforded to them by their schedule.

“We’re very fortunate tomorrow is an off day,” said Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun. “Everyone can celebrate. We have another 48 hours before we have to play another baseball game.”

Attention Turns to NL Central Race

Braun is the only player on the current Brewers roster who was also with Milwaukee when they last reached the postseason, and says that the organization has worked hard to get back to the playoffs.

“Obviously, the front office deserves a ton of credit,” Braun said, also crediting principal owner Mark Attanasio. “They hit on virtually every free-agent acquisition and significant trade they made. I just hope this is the first celebration and not the last.”

While both the Brewers and Cubs are now in the playoffs, neither team can afford to take their foot off the gas over the final week of the season. Winning the division comes with the benefit of moving directly into a best-of-five divisional series, while the two wild card teams will have to deal with a one-game playoff to move on to the NLDS.

“We’re not taking this for granted,” Cubs centerfielder Albert Almora Jr. said after Chicago’s win. “We’re super pumped we’re in the playoffs, but our job’s not done. We want to take this division and move forward with the best record in the NL.”

William Hill lists the Chicago Cubs as an 8/1 choice to win the World Series this season, while the Milwaukee Brewers are being offered at 10/1.