Cards to host NL Central tiebreaker if necessary

Cards to host NL Central tiebreaker if necessary

PHOENIX -- While the Cardinals are hopeful of clinching the National League Central title this weekend, plans are being made back in St. Louis for the possibility of a tiebreaker game on Monday.

That game would be played only if the Cardinals and Pirates finish with identical records after 162 games. Tickets for the tiebreaker game went on sale Friday online at cardinals.com/postseason and include ticket options that cost as little as $10. A game time has not been announced.

The Cardinals would earn the opportunity to host Game 163 by virtue of having won 11 of their 19 games against the Pirates this season. The winner of the tiebreaker game would claim the division crown and secure an NL Division Series date with the Dodgers. The loser would meet the Giants in the Wild Card game on Wednesday. The site of that Wild Card game would be determined by overall team records.

"It makes for a good story for sure everything coming down to the wire," manager Mike Matheny said before the Cardinals opened a three-game series against the last-place Diamondbacks on Friday. "But for us here in this dugout, it should be a playoff-like atmosphere with the intensity and the excitement [this weekend]. We're fortunate that we're going to be able to play after 162. It depends in what capacity, and obviously we'd like to obtain that goal of winning our division."

If a tie breaker game is needed, it will be televised on ESPN, which is likely to schedule an afternoon start time because of its obligation with Monday Night Football. The game would also be broadcast on 1120 KMOX.

While this would be the first one-game tiebreaker in franchise history, it would be the second time the Cardinals will have had to play beyond the end of the regular season to determine an overall division/league winner. The Cardinals and Brooklyn Dodgers finished the 1946 with identical records (96-58) and played a best-of-three playoff series to decide the NL Champ. The Cardinals defeated the Dodgers in two straight games and then took down the Reds Sox, four games to three, to win the World Series championship.

In addition to tiebreaker tickets, the Cardinals have also put tickets on sale for potential Wild Card, NLDS and NL Championship Series games. Online registration for the chance to purchase World Series tickets began on Friday morning. Fans will be refunded in whole for purchased tickets for games not played.

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. 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.