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Cards nearing home-field advantage, wrap up set with Cubs

With a chance to secure home-field advantage throughout the National League playoffs, the St. Louis Cardinals turn to Jake Westbrook today in the season finale against the Chicago Cubs.

The NL Central champions enter the day a game up on Atlanta for the No. 1 seed in the NL. The Cardinals need to either win or have the Braves lose at home to Philadelphia to secure the top spot. The Braves own the tiebreaker.

Westbrook hasn't pitched since Sept. 6, when he yielded three hits and five runs -- three earned -- over 1 1/3 innings in a 12-8 St. Louis win over the Pirates. This will be his first start since Aug. 21 at Milwaukee.

Westbrook has dropped his last four decisions, three of them starts. His last victory came July 24 versus the Phillies. He's 6-4 with a 4.14 ERA in 12 games against the Cubs.

Jeff Samardzija starts the finale for the Cubs. He didn't get a decision on Monday against the Pirates when he allowed one run on five hits, while walking four and fanning seven in six innings. His last win came Aug. 24 at San Diego.

Samardzija is 4-2 with a 4.47 ERA in 17 career games (six starts) against the Cardinals.

Matt Holliday hit a two-run homer and Yadier Molina had two hits and two RBI to lead the Cardinals to a 6-2 win on Saturday. Pete Kozma had two hits, an RBI and a run scored for the Cardinals.

Adam Wainwright (19-9) shined in his final tune up for the postseason, limiting the Cubs to two hits and one walk while fanning five in 5 1/3 innings.

With the win, Wainwright tied Washington's Jordan Zimmermann for the most wins in the NL this season.

"You want to have some good positive momentum going into his next start, which will be on Thursday," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "And we get a bonus that he's efficient, and we can stretch him out for five innings to get him an opportunity to take that 19th win. That's a good day."

Seth Maness picked up his first career save after inducing an inning-ending double play. .

Anthony Rizzo hit a solo homer and Donnie Murphy drove in a run for the Cubs.

Edwin Jackson (8-18) was pegged with the loss after allowing six runs on eight hits in just 2 2/3 innings.

"If I had the answer, I would've changed a long time ago. It's one of those years where you forget it, but still learn from it. It was a bad year to sum it up. There's a lot of things to take from it," said Jackson.

The Cardinals are 11-7 versus the Cubs in 2013.