The streak is over.
For the first time since Sept. 10, the St. Louis Cardinals lost a game, falling 4-0 to the Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday night. That ended a 17-game winning streak for the Cardinals (88-70) that clinched them a wild-card berth in this year's postseason.
Adrian Houser, Brent Suter, Brad Boxberger and Aaron Ashby combined to hold the Cardinals to just three hits and four walks while striking out nine.
Daniel Vogelbach and Manny Pina each homered for the Brewers (95-63), who already clinched the NL Central title earlier in the week.
The two teams will meet for the last time in the regular season on Thursday at 1:15 p.m. ET. If they meet again in the postseason, it won't come until the NLCS, with the Cardinals set to face either the San Francisco Giants (103-54) or Los Angeles Dodgers (101-56)—if the season ended today, it would be the Dodgers—in the Wild Card Round.
Whichever of those teams wins the NL West would be awaiting in the NLDS were the Cardinals to advance past the Wild Card Game. So St. Louis' path to a title will require them to get past the two best teams in baseball this year, at least in terms of record.
But no team in baseball has been hotter down the stretch than the Cardinals, who have won 19 of their past 21 contests.
And the good news has extended beyond the results on the diamond.
"I'm not opting out," superstar third baseman Nolan Arenado told reporters Wednesday regarding his contract, which includes an opt-out clause after this season that would have allowed him to become a free agent had he exercised it. "We can put that out there. I will not be opting out. I will be coming back. That was always the plan. I'm absolutely coming back. I feel like this year has been special in a lot of senses. I want to play with all these guys. I'm excited I'll be back."
The Cardinals may have lost on Wednesday, but it's hard to imagine anybody in St. Louis even caring at this point.