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Molina's HR sends Cards over Nats, Washington eliminated

Carlos Beltran went 2-for-4 and his two-run homer in the fifth proved to be the difference, as the St. Louis Cardinals earned a 4-3 victory and officially eliminated the Washington Nationals from playoff contention.

Yadier Molina and Shane Robinson each knocked in a run, and Adam Wainwright (18-9) scattered three runs on seven hits over seven-plus innings. Trevor Rosenthal closed the door by recording the last two outs of the ninth.

The Nationals had won 16 of their first 22 September games to get back into the playoff race, but their rally fell short when their loss, coupled by wins from the Pirates and Reds, officially put the defending NL East champions out of the wild card race.

Rookie Tanner Roark (7-1) suffered his first loss, charged with all four runs on nine hits over five frames.