Jedd Gyorko

Russell homers, Cubs beat Cardinals 5-1 to clinch NL Central

The last time the Cubs went to the postseason three straight years was in 1906-08. The World Series champions won the National Central for the second straight year with a 5-1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday night.

Under .500 and trailing Milwaukee in the division race at the All-Star break, the Cubs turned things around with a stellar second half.

"It was tough," starter John Lackey said. "It's always a challenge and we got a lot of people's best shots. We played well and we're back in the playoffs and we'll see what happens."

Addison Russell hit a three-run homer and Lackey pitched six strong innings for Chicago.