Cards surpass 3.5 million fans for second time

ST. LOUIS -- With an announced crowd of 45,747 at Busch Stadium for Sunday night's regular-season home finale, the Cardinals pushed past the 3.5 million mark for the second time in nine seasons at the ballpark. It was also the second time since the park opened that the Cardinals drew more than 40,000 fans to all 81 home games.

With an average of 43,712 per game, the Cardinals will finish second in Major League Baseball behind only the Dodgers, who have a capacity of 56,000 at Dodger Stadium. No other club will have a higher percentage of seats filled than the Cardinals at 99.3. The Cardinals had 52 sellouts.

The 3,540,649 tickets sold fell just shy of matching the stadium record of 3,552,180 set in 2007, a year after the Cardinals won their 10th World Series championship. That was also the only other season in which the club had at least 40,000 fans at every game.

The Cardinals did get a slight attendance boost from adding rooftop seating at Ballpark Village in the offseason. Joe Strohm, vice president of ticket sales, estimated that those new seats added about 40,000-42,000 to the season's attendance total.

Worth noting
• The stomach illness that hit the Cardinals' clubhouse on Saturday continues to spread and had the Cardinals considering not having the sick players take the chartered flight to Chicago after Sunday's game. Matt Carpenter and Matt Adams were both out of the lineup for a second straight day, though manager Mike Matheny said the two had recovered enough to be available off the bench.

Matheny, for competitive reasons, would not name which other players had fallen ill. The staff posted "Wash Your Hands!!!!" signs all around the clubhouse in an effort to try and keep the bug from spreading further.

• Matheny said the Cardinals are leaning toward having Michael Wacha stay on schedule and make one more start in Arizona before the end of the regular season. Wacha recovered well from his outing on Saturday, one in which he threw more pitches (78) than he had in any of his three appearances since returning from a shoulder injury.

• According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Matheny has become just the fifth manager in baseball history to have led his team to the postseason in each of his first three years on the job. The other four include Ron Gardenhire (2002-04), Larry Dierker (1997-1999), Ralph Houk (1961-63) and Hughie Jennings (1907-09).

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.