PHOENIX (AP) -- The St. Louis Cardinals clinched their second straight NL Central title before the first pitch Sunday and closed out the regular season with a 1-0 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The Cardinals were already in the postseason entering the day and celebrated the division title in the dugout minutes before first pitch, when Cincinnati’s 4-1 win over Pittsburgh was announced.
St. Louis finished 90-72 and opens their NL division series Friday at the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Once Sunday’s game started, both teams seemed to go through the motions, the only run coming on Kolten Wong’s groundout in the sixth inning off Josh Collmenter (11-9).
The Cardinals scratched scheduled starter Adam Wainwright just before the start, using five relievers instead. Justin Masterson (3-3) pitched two scoreless innings and Carlos Martinez got the final two outs for his first save.
Arizona went down meekly, managing two hits to finish 64-98, the second-worst record in team history.
The Cardinals went to the World Series last season, yet have seemed to make it hard on themselves this season, taking the NL Central race down to the final game after limping to the finish.
St. Louis had a chance to wrap up the division title Saturday night, but couldn’t put away the last-in-baseball Diamondbacks, losing 5-2 after Mark Trumbo hit a pair of homers.
Cincinnati eliminated the drama for St. Louis with a win that sent the Pirates to the wild-card game and St. Louis into the division series. The result was announced at Chase Field about 10 minutes before first pitch and the Cardinals celebrated with a round of high-fives and hugs in the dugout.
St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said Wainwright would start the season finale regardless of what happened with the Pirates, but he was replaced by Nick Greenwood just before the game.
With nothing to play for on either side, the Cardinals and Diamondbacks played through a brisk, free-swinging game that was more like spring training than a season finale.
The Cardinals had three hits and scored their only run on Wong’s sixth-inning groundout after Pete Kozma led off with a double.
Collmenter allowed three hits in eight innings.
Cardinals: LF Matt Holliday was out of the lineup after leaving in the sixth inning Saturday night due to flu-like symptoms.
Cardinals: St. Louis has not named a starter for the division series opener against the Dodgers.