ST. LOUIS — Andrew McCutchen is not worried.
Although rumors persist that the five-time All-Star outfielder might be moved by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the offseason, he remains philosophical about his future.
“My mindset is just to do my job and get myself in the best shape I can get myself in for next year,” McCutchen said following the Pirates’ 10-4 season-ending loss at St. Louis on Sunday.
“That’s all out of my control,” he added. “All I can do is be myself and work hard and go from there.”
McCutchen is guaranteed $14 million next season and could become a free agent sometime in the next two years.
“I think it’s fair to say we’re going to continue to explore how we can get this club back into the postseason,” general manager Neal Huntington said. “We love this core. At the same time, if there’s a significant move that we think gives us a better chance to get back to the postseason in ’17 and ’18, that’s something we’ll be open to.”
Matt Carpenter homered and Randal Grichuk keyed a six-run seventh-inning with a two-run double to lead St. Louis to its fourth win in a row.
However, the Cardinals (86-76) were eliminated while still on the field when San Francisco (87-75) beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 7-1 and earned the second NL wild card.
“That’s the danger when it’s not in your hands anymore,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. “Our focus was to take care of our own business – and we did that.”
St. Louis starter Adam Wainwright allowed two runs on six hits over six innings and did not get a decision.
“To miss the playoffs by one game — that’s tough to swallow,” Wainwright said. “You think about how many times you could’ve won games, or just one or two games, and you didn’t. It gets you to thinking back a little bit.”
St. Louis outfielder Matt Holliday was brought into the game momentarily to play left field in the ninth inning. He was given a standing ovation and taken out before the first pitch. The Cardinals announced Friday they plan to decline his 2017 option and allow him to become free agent.
“How special was that?” Matheny said. “What instigated it was the response of the fans, so badly they wanted to see him one more time.”
St. Louis was a big league-best 100-62 last year but lost to the Chicago Cubs in the Division Series. The Cardinals never led the NL Central at any point this season and finished with a losing record at home (38-43) for the first time since 1999.
“Anytime you don’t win the World Series, it’s disappointing,” said infielder Aledmys Diaz. “But we kept coming and never let down.”
After making the playoffs for three straight years, Pittsburgh dropped from 98-64 to 78-83.
Yadier Molina had three hits for the Cardinals. Stephen Piscotty singled in Molina to break a 4-4 tie in the seventh.
Carpenter hit his 21st homer of the season off Antonio Bastardo for a 4-2 lead.
Jonathan Broxton (4-2) won despite allowing two runs in one inning of relief.
Juan Nicasio (10-7) gave up three runs without recording an out in the seventh.
McCutchen hit a two-run single in the fifth to give his team a 2-1 lead.
Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle is ready to move on from the disappointing campaign.
“Forty-one years in the game and I honor the game, I respect the game,” Hurdle said. “And I’ve also gotten very good on closing the book when it’s time to close the book.”
Pittsburgh catcher Eric Fryer had two hits in a losing cause.
“I think down the stretch we definitely competed,” Fryer said. “There’s a lot of optimism here with a lot of young arms.”
PACK THE PLACE
A crowd of 44,615, the 19th sellout of the season, watched the final game.
St. Louis drew 3,444,490, second to the Los Angeles Dodgers in major league home attendance. It was the fifth highest attendance total in franchise history and the 13th successive year the team has drawn at least 3 million.