Game Report: Cubs 10, Cardinals 5

The Cardinals hoped they could play the role of spoilers on the final day of the regular season on Sunday and keep the Cubs from having a chance to win the NL Central, but that didn’t happen.

The Cubs jumped on starter Jack Flaherty in a four-run third inning and added four more runs in the fifth off Austin Gomber en route to the victory, which set up a one-game showdown at high noon on Monday against the Brewers at Wrigley Field for the division title.

What the Cardinals thought could be a week that sent them into the playoffs just seven days ago ended with a whimper as they lost their lead for the second wild-card spot with a 1-5 finish, ending the season with an 88-74 record and missing the playoffs for a third consecutive year.

Here is how the game broke down:

At the plate: The Cardinals took a 2-0 lead in the first inning, thanks to an RBI single from Paul DeJong, which drove in Matt Carpenter, and an error by Jason Heyward … Carpenter’s double was his only hit in five at-bats … Yairo Munoz drove in two runs with a sixth-inning single and in the seventh, Munoz was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, cutting the lead to 10-5, but with Matt Adams available to pinch-hit the Cardinals let Francisco Pena hit and he took a called third strike to end the inning … In the eighth they got two runners on base with two outs before Tyler O’Neill’s bid to cut into the Chicago lead ended on the warning track in right.

On the mound: Flaherty could not get out of the third inning, when he let five consecutive batters reach base with two outs … The final run charged to Flaherty scored after Chasen Shreve allowed a single by Heyward … Flaherty struck out three to end the year with 182 strikeouts, the third highest total by a rookie in franchise history … The four runs the Cubs scored off Gomber in the fifth included a two-run homer by Willson Contreras with first base open and two outs … Daniel Poncedeleon made his first appearance since Sept. 12, working a 1-2-3 eighth inning.

Key stat: Sunday’s game was only the third the Cardinals have played since the start of the 2011 season after being eliminated from postseason contention.

Worth noting: After protecting his league lead in the home run race for all of September despite hitting only one homer run, Carpenter finally was passed on Sunday by Nolan Arenado of the Rockies who hit his 37th of the season. Carpenter is tied with Christian Yelich and Trevor Story at 36, but they will both be playing in game 163s on Monday to decide the Central and West division titles, and those games count as part of the regular season … With the Cardinals having nothing to play for, Yadier Molina, Marcell Ozuna and Kolten Wong were all out of the lineup … Wong could have surgery on his injured right knee sometime early in the off-season … The Cardinals made a final error, their 133rd of the season, when Carpenter threw high to Daniel Hudson covering first base in the sixth.