ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Rookie Shelby Miller won his 15th game, and Yadier Molina had the go-ahead hit for the St. Louis Cardinals, who wrapped up a three-game sweep of the Washington Nationals and moved another step closer to the NL Central title with a 4-1 victory on Wednesday.
Jordan Zimmermann (19-9) missed his only shot at 20 wins, allowing four runs in seven innings. The Nationals had five hits one day after breaking up rookie Michael Wacha's bid for a no-hitter in the ninth inning.
Matt Adams hit his eighth home run since replacing injured Allen Craig and doubled for the Cardinals, who led the Pirates by 2 1/2 games with three games to go. The Reds lost 1-0 to the Mets on Wednesday and were eliminated from the divisional race.
The Cardinals (94-65) are a season-high 29 games above .500 and have a day off before 14-game winner Lance Lynn faces the Cubs on Friday night to open the final series.
Miller (15-9) was wild high early and walked two of the first three hitters to set up Bryce Harper's RBI single. The Nationals had no other runners in scoring position against the 22-year-old Miller, who allowed a run in six-plus innings and beat them for the second time this season.
Rookie Trevor Rosenthal saved all three games and struck out Adam LaRoche to cap a perfect ninth.
Zimmermann had won his previous four appearances and had been coming off a two-hit shutout of Miami. But he is 0-3 with a 8.27 ERA in six career starts against St. Louis, and lost Game 2 of the NL division series last fall.
Daniel Descalso doubled leading off the third and scored on Matt Carpenter's groundout to tie it. Zimmermann hit Matt Holliday to open the fourth, and Adams doubled ahead of Molina's two-run single that made it 3-1.
Adams hit his 17th homer on a 1-2 pitch in the sixth.
The Cardinals were 15-2 against the NL East and swept Miami and Philadelphia.
NOTES: Zimmermann has 43 career wins, one shy of the Nationals' franchise record held by Livan Hernandez. ... Miller leads all rookies with 15 wins, also the most by a Cardinals rookie since Dick Hughes won 16 in 1967. ... Lynn (14-10, 4.09) faces Travis Wood (9-11, 2.98) on Friday. Stephen Strasburg (7-9, 3.02) gets his final start on Friday at Arizona against Patrick Corbin (14-7, 3.28).
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Cardinals rookie Michael Wacha lost his no-hit bid on Ryan Zimmerman's infield single with two outs in the ninth inning, and St. Louis beat the Washington Nationals 2-0 Tuesday night to close in on the NL Central title.
Making his ninth career start, Wacha came about as close as possible to finishing off the third no-hitter in the majors this season. Instead, the Busch Stadium crowd let out a loud, collective groan as he became the third pitcher to have a bid broken up with one out to go.
Zimmerman hit a chopper just over the 6-foot-6 Wacha, and the ball bounced slowly toward shortstop. A charging Pete Kozma grabbed it with his bare hand and whipped a throw to first that was a little wide, pulling Matt Adams off the bag as Zimmerman arrived.
"I think it nicked off my glove a little bit," Wacha said.
As the ball left Zimmerman's bat, several Cardinals started to climb the dugout railing, ready to pour onto the field to celebrate. Second baseman Matt Carpenter did a little hop, all set for the final out.
But first base umpire Jeff Kellogg correctly called Zimmerman safe, and the Cardinals sagged right along with their fans.
Third baseman David Freese sat crouched in the infield, stunned at how close his 22-year-old teammate had come. Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright put his hands on his head in disbelief.
Wacha (4-1) was pulled after Zimmerman's hit and walked off to a huge ovation. The right-hander struck out nine and walked two.
"I guess I wasn't meant to throw one tonight," he said.
Trevor Rosenthal got Jayson Werth to ground out for his second save.
With anticipation building and fans on their feet in the ninth inning, Wacha retired pinch-hitter Steve Lombardozzi on a grounder to Kozma before throwing a called third strike past Denard Span.
But on the next pitch, Zimmerman spoiled it.
Texas' Yu Darvish lost a perfect game with two outs in the ninth inning against Houston on April 2 and San Francisco's Yusmeiro Petit had his try at perfection end one out shy against Arizona on Sept 6.
Cincinnati's Homer Bailey and the Giants' Tim Lincecum threw no-hitters in July.
The last two no-hitters by St. Louis pitchers came from rookies - Bud Smith in 2001 and Jose Jimenez in 1999.
It has been 30 years since there was a no-hitter in St. Louis. Bob Forsch finished off his second for the Cardinals on Sept. 26, 1983, against Montreal.
Drafted 19th overall out of Texas A&M last year, Wacha has been up and down from the minors a couple of times this season. But he came up big for the Cardinals in the final week as they try to nail down their first division title since 2009.
St. Louis, which already clinched a playoff berth, began the night with a two-game lead in the NL Central over Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. The Reds lost to the New York Mets 4-2, falling three games back with four to play.
The Cardinals have won four of five. They remained a half-game behind Atlanta for the best record in the NL.
Washington was eliminated from playoff contention with a 4-3 loss to St. Louis on Monday night. The Nationals have dropped three of four.
Wacha retired his first 14 batters before Adam LaRoche reached on an error by Carpenter at second base with two outs in the fourth.
Span tried to break up the no-hitter with a two-out bunt in the sixth. The ball rolled just foul near third base, and the crowd booed lustily.
Left fielder Shane Robinson made a running catch of a tailing liner off the bat of Anthony Rendon to end the eighth.
Robinson drove in Carpenter with a two-out single off Gio Gonzalez (11-8) in the third. Carpenter began the rally with his major league-leading 55th double.
Yadier Molina pushed the lead to 2-0 with a run-scoring double in the fourth.
Gonzalez came within inches of a no-hitter himself this month. He finished with a one-hit shutout against the Mets after pinch-hitter Zach Lutz's seventh-inning single landed right on the first base line behind the bag.
This time, Gonzalez allowed two runs and six hits over seven innings. He struck out six.
NOTES: Wacha was seeking the 11th no-hitter in Cardinals history. ... Nationals RHP Jordan Zimmermann (19-7, 3.18 ERA) gets his last scheduled shot at 20 wins on Wednesday when he faces RHP Shelby Miller (14-9, 3.12) in the finale of the three-game series. ... The Cardinals are 14-2 against NL East opponents at home.
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Carlos Beltran homered, Adam Wainwright earned his 18th win and the St. Louis Cardinals beat Washington 4-3 on Monday night, eliminating the Nationals from playoff contention.
Looking for their first NL Central title since 2009, the Cardinals maintained a two-game lead over Cincinnati and Pittsburgh and reduced their magic number to four.
All three teams are headed to the postseason. The Reds and Pirates both won Monday night, clinching at least a wild-card berth when Washington lost.
St. Louis secured no worse than a wild card on Sunday.
All three NL Central contenders have five games left.
The Nationals won the NL East last season with 98 wins but were eliminated by St. Louis in the division series. One year later, they were knocked out by the Cardinals again.
Beltran's two-run homer in the fifth off rookie Tanner Roark broke a 2-all tie. It was Beltran's team-leading 24th of the season and first in 91 at-bats since Aug. 24.
Wainwright (18-9) gave up three runs and seven hits over seven-plus innings. He struck out five, giving him a career-high 214 on the season.
Jayson Werth hit a two-run homer on the 15th pitch of the game. Wainwright then retired nine in a row and allowed just one run on five hits the rest of the way. He moved into second in the NL in wins behind Washington right-hander Jordan Zimmermann, who has 19.
Wainwright gave up two singles to begin the eighth. Trevor Rosenthal got two outs for his first career save.
Roark (7-1) gave up four runs and five hits in five innings for his first loss in four starts. He went 45 2-3 innings before allowing his first home run.
Washington closed to 4-3 in the eighth on singles by Anthony Rendon and Steve Lombardozzi and a groundout from Ryan Zimmerman. St. Louis reliever Carlos Martinez got Werth to ground out with a runner in scoring position to end the threat.
The Cardinals climbed within 2-1 on a run-scoring single by Yadier Molina in the first. They tied it on successive singles from David Freese, Daniel Descalso and Shane Robinson in the fourth.
Robinson replaced Matt Holliday in the lineup. Holliday was a game-time scratch for the second night in a row due to back spasms. He is day to day.
NOTES: Cardinals broadcaster Mike Shannon, 74, returned to the booth four weeks after undergoing surgery to replace an aortic valve in his heart. Shannon, who played on the Cardinals' 1964 and 1967 World Series championship teams, made his announcing debut in 1972. He received a standing ovation when his picture was flashed on the video screen during the second inning. ... The Cardinals have 92 wins, their most since winning 100 games in 2005. ... Cardinals 1B Allen Craig will be re-evaluated Thursday. Craig has missed the last 18 games with a left foot sprain sustained Sept. 4. ... The Nationals have a 24-8 advantage in homers over their last 17 games. ... St. Louis rookie Michael Wacha (3-1, 3.21 ERA) will face LHP Gio Gonzalez (11-7, 3.39) in the second game of the three-game set on Tuesday.
MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Norichika Aoki scored three times and doubled home a run, and the Milwaukee Brewers beat sloppy St. Louis 6-4 on Sunday night, hours after the Cardinals clinched a playoff berth.
Wily Peralta (11-15) gave up five hits and walked five in five-plus innings for the Brewers. The Cardinals put the go-ahead run at the plate with two outs in the ninth, but closer Jim Henderson got slugger Matt Adams to strike out to end the game and earn his 26th save.
St. Louis learned earlier Sunday it was assured of at least an NL wild card after Washington lost its doubleheader opener against Miami.
The Cardinals chased Peralta after loading the bases in the sixth with nobody out. Reliever Donovan Hand allowed two runs to score on consecutive sacrifice flies to cut the Brewers' lead to 4-3, but he hot out of the jam by getting Matt Carpenter to strike out on a curve with the tying run at third.
Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina misplayed a throw to the plate for another error in a two-run seventh that gave Milwaukee back its three-run cushion. St. Louis also committed two errors in the Brewers' two-run second.
Hand struck out three in his two innings of work to settle down the Brewers. The Cardinals threatened again in the ninth with two outs. Carlos Beltran had an RBI single, and the Cardinals sent the potential go-ahead run to the plate but closer Jim Henderson got slugger Matt Adams to strike out to end the game and earn his 26th save.
St. Louis remains two games up in the NL Central, but now has two teams to fend off in second after the Reds defeated Pittsburgh 11-3 to pull into a tie with the Pirates.
Playing their final home game of 2013, the Brewers closed Miller Park on a high note in a season marked by injuries and the doping suspension of slugger Ryan Braun.
The Cardinals didn't look sharp on the field. Errors by third baseman David Freese and starter Joe Kelly (9-5) helped contribute to the two Milwaukee runs in the second.
St. Louis began the day with an NL-low 71 errors.
Kelly also hesitated on what could have been an inning-ending double play in the first after getting Carlos Gomez to bounce sharply back to the mound with runners on first and third. But Kelly glanced just a split second long enough at Jonathan Lucroy leading off third. The Cardinals got the runner at second but couldn't get the relay to first and Lucroy scored easily for a 2-0 lead.
Leadoff hitter Aoki contributed to rallies in both the first and second. He's tortured Cardinals pitching all season, hitting .406 against them entering the day.
Aoki led off the first with a single and came home on an RBI single by Aramis Ramirez with one out. Aoki then reached on an RBI double in the second before scoring after Kelly threw away a sacrifice bunt attempt by Scooter Gennett.
Aoki also walked twice to reach base in each of his four plate appearances.
Kelly went seven innings, allowing seven hits and six runs - three of them unearned.
NOTES: LF Matt Holliday was scratched from the starting lineup with back spasms. ... St. Louis has a major league-leading 34 wins from rookie pitchers this season, their most since also getting 34 in 1952. ... Manager Ron Roenicke thinks SS Jean Segura will be available for pinch-hitting duties for the Brewers' three-game set starting Monday in Atlanta. Segura, the NL leader in steals with 44, has been sidelined since Wednesday with a strained right hamstring ... LF Khris Davis was out of the lineup Sunday due to a nagging wrist injury, but is also likely to return to action in Atlanta.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- San Francisco linebacker Aldon Smith will miss Thursday night's game at St. Louis and perhaps sit out longer, 49ers CEO Jed York said Sunday.
Smith will seek treatment following his arrest Friday for suspicion of driving under the influence and marijuana possession. After Sunday's loss to the Colts, Smith apologized and acknowledged he will get help, but didn't field questions.
"First off, I wanted to apologize to the team, the organization, my family and everybody I let down," he said. "I also wanted to let it be known that this is a problem and it's something that I will get fixed, and that I'll do everything in my power to make sure that this never happens again.
"I also wanted to let everybody know that once again I'm sorry."
Smith started for San Francisco and had five tackles in a 27-7 loss, two days after he was arrested and jailed early Friday morning following an accident in which his truck hit a tree. York defended the organization's decision to play Smith.
"Our opinion is if you're sitting someone down and paying them to sit down when they're going to seek treatment in the future, we didn't feel like that was an appropriate punishment," he said. "We're not trying to circumvent what the NFL will do. This is about making sure that Aldon has the opportunity to work on something, to get better, and he knows that he has our support and hopefully he has everybody's support in something that is going to be very difficult."
York expects Smith to get help, but the 49ers won't interfere.
"I think Aldon is going to take steps on his own," York said. "We're not worried about that."
Smith is a key pass rusher and sacks leader for the 49ers, and coach Jim Harbaugh had said leading up to Sunday that the NFL would decide how to punish the third-year pro, who turns 24 Wednesday. He had a franchise-record 19 1/2 sacks last season, second in the NFL.
When asked about Smith getting help, Harbaugh said "there's a process there we'll apprise you of at the appropriate time."
"It will be indefinite," York said. "There's no timetable."
York said Harbaugh and general manager Trent Baalke handled the situation and communicated with him.
"I think this was the best thing for Aldon," York said. "Again, there's no right answer here. We're very fortunate that nobody got hurt, Aldon included and anybody else. And we want to make sure that Aldon is never in a position like this again."
The league is likely to suspend Smith, but whether that is later this season or next year is unclear. 49ers defensive lineman Demarcus Dobbs was suspended for Week 1 without pay for a violation of the NFL's substance abuse policy that happened last season. Dobbs was arrested last Nov. 30 - his 25th birthday - for suspicion of driving under the influence and possession of marijuana.
Smith has had a rash of run-ins with the law that raised questions about his character.
"It was disappointing, but we support him, and knowing that what he wants to do is not a one-day fix, it's a long-term fix for Aldon," York said. "Aldon is willing to fight for himself and try to make this right, and I will see it through, and I will support him. I will take any shots that anybody wants to direct at the organization. They can direct at me, and I will support Aldon as long as he is willing to work at this and fight to get better."
Earlier this month, a lawsuit was filed in Santa Clara County Superior Court naming Smith by a Northern California man who said he was shot at a party at Smith's house on June 29, 2012.
The players charged a $10 admission and $5 per drink, the lawsuit said. Smith and former 49ers tight end Delanie Walker, 29 were allegedly intoxicated on Smith's balcony when they later fired gunshots in the air while trying to end the party, the lawsuit said.
Before the 2012 home opener last September, Smith was the passenger in a car accident in Santa Clara County in which the driver swerved to avoid hitting a deer. Smith sustained a cut beneath his right eyebrow. He apologized and insisted he had grown up.
The 49ers selected Smith seventh overall in the first round of the 2011 draft out of Missouri. He became an instant impact player like many of the others chosen by Baalke in the past three drafts.
"This was not an easy weekend for us," York said. "Again, I'll support our players as long as they're willing to work toward getting better and being better teammates, better members of the community I believe that Aldon wants to do that, and I will support him and I will stand by him as long as that's what he's willing to do."
MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Matt Carpenter broke Stan Musial's team record for doubles by a left-handed batter in a season, Lance Lynn won for the first time since early August and the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Milwaukee Brewers 7-2 Saturday night to maintain a two-game lead in the NL Central.
Seeking their first division title since 2009, the Cardinals (91-64) have surged ahead of Pittsburgh (89-66) and Cincinnati (88-67), which dropped three games back with a 4-2 loss in Pittsburgh.
St. Louis lowered its magic number to one for clinching a postseason berth, won for the 12th time in 17 games and improved to 14-4 against the Brewers this year, including 8-1 in Milwaukee.
Carpenter's fifth-inning double was his 54th of the season, one more than Musial's total in 1953.
Lynn (14-10) allowed one run, four hits and four walks in 6 1-3 innings with seven strikeouts. He had been 0-5 with a 5.44 ERA in eight starts since winning at Cincinnati on Aug. 4.
Yovani Gallardo (11-10) gave up two runs and four hits in seven innings and dropped to 1-11 with a 6.46 ERA in 17 career starts against St. Louis.
Matt Adams hit a two-run homer for the second straight night, putting the Cardinals ahead in the first. Davis hit an RBI grounder in the bottom half, but the Cardinals blew open the game in a five-run eighth.
Rob Wooten walked Yadier Molina on a nine-pitch at-bat with the bases loaded, David Freese hit a two-run single and Daniel Descalso added a two-run double against Alfredo Figaro for a 7-1 lead.
Davis doubled in a run in the bottom half against Seth Maness.
NOTES: Brewers players drove through the parking lots and tossed bobbleheads and T-shirts to surprised tailgaters after batting practice, part of an effort to thank fans at the end of a disappointing season. ... Cardinals GM John Mozeliak said that INF-OF Allen Craig's left foot will be re-evaluated at the end of next week. He's missed 16 games since spraining his left foot Sept. 4 at Cincinnati. ... Mozeliak said that team will remain flexible in how it closes games. Edward Mujica's 37 saves leads the club, but his recent struggles force the Cardinals into a closer-by-committee approach. "So, just having somebody labeled our closer right now, we can't do that," the GM said. He added that there still was enough time yet this season to correct the problem.
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Patrik Berglund scored a power-play goal in overtime to lead the St. Louis Blues to a 3-2 win over the Dallas Stars on Saturday night.
Berglund collected a rebound of Alex Pietrangelo's blast that bounced off the glass behind the Dallas net. Berglund's first goal gave the Blues their second win over the Stars this preseason.
Pietrangelo tied the game at 2-2 on a power-play goal with 4:41 left in regulation.
Jamie Benn and Alex Chiasson scored for Dallas, which had won two straight. It was Benn's second of the preseason.
The Blues tied the game at 1-1 with 11:30 remaining in the second on Jaden Schwartz's goal. His score ended Dallas goalie Kari Lehtonen's shutout streak at 59:30. Lehtonen stopped 33 shots.
Jake Allen made 22 saves for the Blues.
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Valtteri Filppula assisted on three of Tampa Bay's four goals, and the Lightning beat the St. Louis Blues 4-3 on Friday night for their third NHL preseason win in three days.
Artem Sergeev, Brett Connolly, Ondrej Palat and Pierre-Cedric Labrie had goals for the Lightning (3-0), who will host the Florida Panthers on Saturday night.
Ben Bishop, who grew up in St. Louis, and Anders Lindback split time in goal for the Lightning. Bishop stopped 14 of 15 shots. Lindback made 13 saves on 15 shots.
Corey Locke had a goal and assist for the Blues, who were beaten by the Lightning 4-3 in a shootout on Wednesday. Alexander Steen and T.J. Oshie added goals.
Jaroslav Halak made his first preseason start in goal and played the entire game, making 19 saves.