Cardinals grab top seed in National League playoffs

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One of the few things still undetermined at the start of play Sunday has now been … determined.

Despite a lineup that was without Matt Holliday and an oddly-timed substitution of Tony Cruz for Yadier Molina just before first pitch, the Cardinals rolled to a 4-0 victory over the Cubs in Sunday’s regular-season finale at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. Jake Westbrook threw a scoreless first inning and Joe Kelly went five-plus. Jon Jay, Daniel Descalso, Shane Robinson and Cruz all contributed RBI.

The Cardinals have secured the top seed in the National League with a final regular-season record of 97-75 and will open their five-game NLDS on Thursday against the winner of the National League Wild Card Game — Reds or Pirates — which is set for Tuesday night at Pittsburgh’s PNC Park.

The Dodgers (92-69) will play the Braves (96-66) in the other five-game NLDS.

Tim Beckham to miss six to seven weeks after undergoing core muscle surgery

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Dan Connolly of BaltimoreBaseball.com reports that Orioles third baseman Tim Beckham underwent core muscle surgery in Philadelphia on Thursday and is expected to miss the next six to seven weeks.

Beckham, 28, was originally diagnosed with a strained left groin. He sustained the injury during spring training and reaggravated it on Monday against the Indians.

Beckham was off to a slow start, batting .179/.247/.262 in 93 plate appearances. Danny Valencia and Jace Peterson should handle the hot corner while Beckham is out.