Cardinals' downfall began in September

ST. LOUIS (AP) - Albert Pujols and the St. Louis Cardinals got a boost from a couple of solid midseason acquisitions and wrapped up the NL Central with a week left in the regular season.

They never regained their edge.

St. Louis was the first National League team to clinch a playoff spot and the first to be eliminated in the postseason. The Cardinals lost 5-1 to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday, completing a sweep in the division series.

Midseason pickups Mark DeRosa, Matt Holliday, Julio Lugo and John Smoltz put St. Louis on a roll that turned a tight division race into a blowout by September. But the Cardinals coasted home and looked listless against the Dodgers.

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