Nats’ playoff dreams die with loss to Cards

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Nats’ playoff dreams die with loss to Cards

Carlos Beltran homered, Adam Wainwright earned his 18th win and the St. Louis Cardinals beat Washington, 4-3, on Monday night, eliminating the Nationals from playoff contention.

Looking for their first NL Central title since 2009, the Cardinals maintained a two-game lead over Cincinnati and Pittsburgh and reduced their magic number to four.

All three teams are headed to the postseason. The Reds and Pirates both won Monday night, clinching at least a wild-card berth when Washington lost.

St. Louis secured no worse than a wild-card spot on Sunday.

All three NL Central contenders have five games left.

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