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Cardinals win final game of season to claim NL Central title

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The Cardinals trounced the Cubs in the final game of the season on Sunday afternoon to claim the NL Central title. The club entered the day’s action leading the Brewers by one game. They took care of business themselves.

Paul Goldschmidt opened the scoring in the first inning with an RBI single. Marcell Ozuna put a second run on the board while grounding into a double play. Dexter Fowler smacked a two-run homer in the second. The Cardinals put up a four-spot in the third thanks to an RBI single from Ozuna and a three-run Matt Carpenter home run. Goldschmidt added a solo shot in the fourth to make it 9-0.

Jack Flaherty had little issue carving through the Cubs’ lineup. He tossed seven shutout innings, yielding just a pair of hits and a walk while striking out six. Flaherty ends the season 11-8 with a 2.75 ERA and a 231/55 K/BB ratio over 196 1/3 innings.

Giovanny Gallegos worked a scoreless eighth before handing the ball to Carlos Martínez for the ninth. Martínez worked a 1-2-3 frame to seal the deal, giving the Cardinals their division crown.

The Cardinals are back in the postseason for the first time since 2015, when they also won the NL Central. They will face the Braves in the NLDS. The Brewers, meanwhile, will face the Nationals in the NL Wild Card game. The winner of that game moves on to face the Dodgers in the NLDS.

Nationals virtually unveil 2019 World Series rings

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On Sunday evening, the defending World Series champion Washington Nationals unveiled their championship rings online. The Nats took down the Astros in seven hard-fought games last October to win their first Fall Classic in franchise history, with starter Stephen Strasburg winning MVP honors.

As the video highlights about the ring, the Nationals honored “Baby Shark,” a children’s song that became part of the team’s identity last year thanks to reserve outfielder Gerardo Parra. The ring also has all kinds of mementos referencing the Nationals’ triumphs throughout the years, including a reference to 2006, when the Lerner family bought the franchise.

It is a shame that, due to the global pandemic, the Nationals haven’t been able to properly get their rings like past championship winners. But they will, in due time. For now, the players can look forward to receiving their rings in the mail.