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      Cardinals clinch playoff spot for 3rd straight year

      The St. Louis Cardinals have clinched a playoff spot for the third straight year.

      Washington's 4-2 loss to Miami in a doubleheader opener Sunday assured the Cardinals of at least an NL wild-card berth.

      St. Louis began the day with a two-game NL Central lead over second-place Pittsburgh and a three-game margin over Cincinnati.

      With some of the pressure off the Redbirds lost to Milwaukee on Sunday night.

      Matt Carpenter got St. Louis on the board with a home run to right but the Brewers jumped out to an early lead and held on to win 6-3.

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