(The Cardinal Nation Show) -- For the first time, the defending World Series champion Cardinals will be in position Monday night to nail down the National League wild-card playoff berth they have been hounding for several weeks.
Right fielder Carlos Beltran hit a pair of two-run homers from both sides of the plate and knocking in five runs overall and rookie Pete Kozma got three hits and at least two runs batted in for the second game in a row (he had three on Sunday), the Cardinals walloped the Washington Nationals 10-4 on Sunday.
The Cardinals' magic number for gaining a playoff spot was reduced to two with three games left.
"We're one step closer, but there's still a long way to go," said manager Mike Matheny. "We've got to keep playing and playing well."
Beltran first homered right-handed off left-hander Ross Detwiler and then left-handed against right-hander Chien-Ming Wang. He has 34 multi-homer games for his career and nine in which he has homered from both sides of the plate.
The power surge on Sunday increased his season totals to 32 homers and 97 RBI.
"Sometimes it happens where you feel from both sides, but most of the time you feel good from one side," Beltran said. "But it's always good to have a day like today where you have a good at-bat on the left and the right side."
Beltran, who has hit barely above .200 for the last two-plus months, entered in a 1-for-14 slide that had dropped his batting average to .265, and Matheny knew that had disturbed Beltran.
"The guy cares so much and it sometimes isn't translated in such a workmanlike attitude," Matheny said. "It's really been bothering him that he hasn't been able to step up. Days like today remind us of how good he is."