Cubs clinch a second-straight NL Central title with a win over the Cardinals

ST. LOUIS  - Waiting an extra day didn't make the achievement any less sweet for the team that now rules the National League Central Division.

After losing to the Cardinals on Tuesday night with a chance to win the division outright, the Cubs didn't let another opportunity get away.

A strong start by John Lackey on the mound and a timely three-run homer by Addison Russell helped the Cubs to a 5-1 win over the Cardinals at Busch Stadium to win the NL Central title.

Wade Davis got Randal Grichuk to fly out to Leonys Martin in center field for the final out as the Cubs poured out of the dugout to celebrate their second-consecutive division title. It also marks the third-straight year the team has made the playoffs, a first since the team did the same from 1906-1908.

It's the 19th time the Cubs have made the playoffs in franchise history and the ninth in the division era. The team won the National League Eastern Division title in 1984 and 1989 while winning the NL Central in 2003, 2007, 2008 and 2016. Cubs teams also won the Wild Card in 1998 and 2015.

With the win, the Cubs now move onto the National League Division series for the third-conseuctive year. Once again, they'll face a different opponent - the Washington Nationals.

The series with the National League East champions begins on Friday, October 6th at Nationals Park with Game 2 the following day. Wrigley Field hosts its first playoff game of 2017 on Monday, October 9th with a Game 4 the next night, if necessary.

A winner-take-all Game 5 would be played at Nationals Park on Thursday, October 12th.

Former Cubs manager Dusty Baker, who won the 2003 NL Central title, leads the 95-win Nationals in their hopes of their first playoff series win since the franchise arrived in Washington from Montreal back in 2005.