CHICAGO The Cubbies are in. Now, how far can they go?
The Chicago Cubs clinched their second straight NL Central title Saturday, beating the St. Louis Cardinals 5-4 behind Ted Lilly's seven innings at rocking Wrigley Field.
The 41,597 fans jammed into the old neighborhood ballpark were ready to party as they watched the Cubs earn back-to-back postseason appearances for the first time since they participated in three straight World Series from 1906-08.
And no one can forget 1908. That's the last time the Cubs won the World Series, a 100-year championship drought they've been hearing about since they were swept out of the playoffs in the first round a year ago by Arizona.
As usual, nothing comes easy for the Cubs. And it didn't Saturday, either.
Lilly (16-9) was sailing along with a 5-0 lead when the Cardinals scored four runs with two out in the sixth, including a three-run homer by Troy Glaus.
Lilly regrouped in the seventh and relievers Carlos Marmol and Kerry Wood held off the Cardinals. Wood earned his 32nd save in 39 chances.
REDS 4, BREWERS 3: At Cincinnati, not even prized acquisition CC Sabathia could keep Milwaukee in contention for the NL Central title. The wild-card race is looking pretty grim now, too. Pitcher Micah Owings had a pinch-hit single off Sabathia with the bases loaded in the sixth inning and Cincinnati held on for the win. Milwaukee has lost 15 of 19 this month, blowing a 5 1/2-game lead in the wild-card race.
BRAVES 4, METS 2: At Atlanta, Pedro Martinez got off to a slow start and the New York Mets never recovered. Kelly Johnson hit an RBI double off Martinez in Atlanta's three-run first inning, rookie Josh Anderson had three hits and the Braves won to end the Mets' three-game winning streak.
PHILLIES 3, MARLINS 2: At Miami, the game was as tight as the NL East standings, and at the end of the night, the Philadelphia Phillies led both. Philadelphia went ahead, fell behind, rallied and held on Saturday, escaping threats in the final three innings to beat the Marlins and reclaim first place from the New York Mets.
DIAMONDBACKS 5, ROCKIES 3: At Denver, Stephen Drew hit a two-out, two-run homer in the top of the ninth and the Arizona Diamondbacks ended their 11-game road losing streak with a victory over the Rockies.
PIRATES 6, ASTROS 4: At Pittsburgh, Ryan Doumit drove in three runs with a pair of triples in the first two innings and the Pirates built a five-run lead in the first inning before holding on to beat the skidding Astros.
PADRES 6, NATIONALS 1: At Washington, Chris Young allowed just two hits in seven innings and hit the first home run of his career to lead the Padres over the Nationals. Young, who spent much of the season on the disabled list, won for just the second time since May 16. John Lannan (9-14) took the loss.
RAYS 7, TWINS 2: At St. Petersburg, Fla., the Tampa Bay Rays kept things simple, clinching the first playoff berth in franchise history on their own. Carlos Pena hit a two-run double and Scott Kazmir rebounded from the worst start of his career to pitch six scoreless innings, helping the AL East leaders wrap up at least a wild-card spot with a victory over the Minnesota Twins.
YANKEES 1, ORIOLES 0: At New York, Robinson Cano hit an RBI single with two outs in the ninth inning and the Yankees staved off postseason elimination. Playing what is likely to be the penultimate game at Yankee Stadium, New York got a perfect inning from Mariano Rivera (6-5) and a fine start by impressive rookie Alfredo Aceves.
BLUE JAYS 6, RED SOX 3: At Toronto, Roy Halladay worked six innings to earn his 19th win, Scott Rolen homered and Toronto beat Boston to keep their faint playoff hopes alive.
Toronto pulled within 7 1/2 games of Boston in the wild-card race.
ATHLETICS 8, MARINERS 7: At Oakland, Calif., Daric Barton hit a go-ahead RBI single in the eighth inning and the Athletics handed the Mariners their season-worst 10th straight loss.
ROYALS 5, WHITE SOX 2: At Kansas City, Mo., Kyle Davies gave up three hits in seven-plus innings and the Royals beat the White Sox. David DeJesus hit an inside-the-park home run, and Alex Gordon and Kila Ka'aihue also homered for the Royals, who won for the eighth time in nine games. The White Sox have lost nine of their past 13 road games.
INDIANS 6, TIGERS 3: At Cleveland, Shin-Soo Choo continued his hot September and Jeremy Sowers pitched six strong innings to help the Indians beat the Tigers.
ANGELS 7, RANGERS 3: At Arlington, Texas, Francisco Rodriguez earned his 60th save and Garret Anderson homered and drove in three runs to help the Los Angeles Angels beat the Texas Rangers 7-3 Saturday night.