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Cardinals at Rockies, Sept. 26. CARDINALS CLINCH!!!

Congratulations to the Cardinals, 2009 National League Central Division champs following their Saturday night win over the Rockies.

Adam Wainwright showed he has really assumed the role of co-ace for the Redbirds with a fantastic, 8-inning performance that saw him throw 130 pitches. He richly deserved his major league-leading 19th victory, scattering 10 hits and allowing two earned runs in a 6-3 win. He struck out 11 and walked one.

blog post photo

Mark DeRosa is showered with beer by his teammates following the Cardinals clinch of the National League Central title Saturday night over Colorado. AP photo.

The Cardinals scored three runs in the first and seemed to be well on their way to their clinching win. But they sputtered after that and the Rockies chipped away until they tied things up.

Yadier Molina suffered an injured knee -- which is reported to be only a bruise -- on a fouled bunt attempt and was replaced by back-up catcher Jason LaRue who drove in the go-ahead run in the seventh inning with his second home run of the year. It looked like Albert Pujols would add an insurance run in the eighth when he ripped a long fly ball to left. But it died in the night air and fell short of the wall. But Ryan Ludwick came to the plate with a runner on in the bottom of the ninth and hit a no doubter to make it 6-3.

Closer Ryan Franklin needed every bit of that lead, allowing the first Colorado hitter to single off his foot before walking the tying run to the plate. But he was able to get a pop up and a couple of ground outs to seal the deal.

The win marked manager Tony La Russa's 13th division title. He trails only soon to be retiring Atlanta manager Bobby Cox in the all-time standings. Cox has won his division 15 times.

Cardinals Star of the Game: Wainright.

Lowlight: Rick Ankiel was 0-4 with two more strikeouts.