Cincinnati Reds (71-84) at St. Louis Cardinals (87-68), 8:05 p.m. (ET)
(SportsNetwork.com) - The St. Louis Cardinals did their part to clinch a playoff spot, but didn't get the help they needed.
The National League Central leaders can take care of business on their own Sunday night in the finale of a three-game series with the Cincinnati Reds.
The Cardinals needed a victory on Saturday and a loss by the Milwaukee Brewers to the Pittsburgh Pirates to officially wrap up at least a wild card berth. St. Louis beat Cincinnati 8-4, but Milwaukee bested Pittsburgh 1-0.
And while the Cards didn't claim a postseason spot, the Brewers' win over the Pirates did push St. Louis' edge over second-place Pittsburgh in the division to 3 1/2 games.
The Cardinals, who now need a win over a loss by the Brewers to punch their playoff ticket, have a magic number of five to clinch the division.
Tony Cruz and Kolten Wong hit early homers in Saturday night's win and Randal Grichuk homered in a second straight game.
Michael Wacha did his part in St. Louis' fourth straight win and seventh in eight games, holding Cincinnati to two runs in 4 2/3 frames in his first start since Sept. 9 and third since spending nearly three months on the disabled list with a shoulder injury.
"I felt a lot better today," said Wacha. "I felt like it was a step in the right direction for sure."
Jason Motte finished the fifth inning to get the win.
Zack Cozart went deep and Kris Negron doubled twice for the Reds, who lost their sixth straight game. Mike Leake was the latest victim after getting roughed up for six runs -- five earned -- in five innings.
"It's been a year to forget," said Leake. "You just have to play hard over these next seven games."
Lance Lynn will attempt to pitch the Cardinals into the playoffs tonight and is 15-9 with a 2.68 earned run average on the season. He has not allowed more than three earned runs in 14 straight outings, a span that began on July 4.
Following a tough-luck 1-0 loss to the Reds on Sept. 11, in which he gave up the one run over eight innings of work. the right-handed Lynn was again solid on Tuesday versus Milwaukee. He held the Brewers to a run on five hits and a walk over seven frames of another no-decision.
"I didn't have the best command, but I had enough to get through seven," Lynn said.
Lynn is 3-1 with a 3.12 ERA in four meetings with the Reds this season.
Cincinnati goes with righty Alfredo Simon, who beat the Cardinals on Sept. 10 by a 4-2 score as he yielded two runs over seven innings. That improved him to 1-0 with a 3.65 ERA in two starts against St. Louis this season.
Simon then blanked the Chicago Cubs over seven frames on Monday, scattering five hits and one walk. His outing included working out of a bases-loaded jam in the first frame.
Simon is 14-10 this year with a 3.35 ERA.
The Cardinals are 12-6 versus the Reds this season, though lost three of four to the club in Cincinnati recently from Sept. 8-11.