Cubs capture first NL Central title since 2008

CHICAGO — The Chicago Cubs have won the NL Central, becoming the first major league team this season to clinch a division title when St. Louis lost 6-2 at San Francisco.

The Cubs lost 5-4 to the Milwaukee Brewers earlier Thursday night. But they captured their first NL Central crown since 2008 when the Giants finished off their victory over the Cardinals.

The ‘inevitable’ crown: Clinching just the beginning for Cubs

A year ago, getting to the playoffs was an accomplishment for the Cubs. This time, a division title means it’s time for the real work to begin for a team with World Series-or-bust expectations.

Wrigley Field was empty when Matt Adams made the final out on the West Coast, but a loud cheer went up in the neighborhood around the iconic ballpark and several people honked their car horns.

“This is just the first step,” manager Joe Maddon said after the Cubs’ game but before the Cardinals’ loss. “I mean, we have much larger baseball fish to fry in our skillet.”

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