WASHINGTON -- After dropping their first game after six straight wins Saturday, the Brewers fell 2 1/2 games behind the Cardinals in the race for the final National League Wild Card spot.
Milwaukee almost stayed where it was in the standings after its 10-4 loss to Washington, but the Cardinals pulled out a come-from-behind 5-4 win in 10 innings against the Cubs. The Brewers have two more games against the Nationals before traveling to Cincinnati to face the Reds, while the Cardinals have one more against the Cubs before three at the Astros.
St. Louis also has an off-day on Thursday that will eliminate the half-game from the standings. Milwaukee has no more off-days for the remainder of the season.
"We can't, obviously, afford to do this again," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said after Saturday's loss. "Somewhere down the road, maybe. But tomorrow, we've got to come out and play a good game."
Yovani Gallardo will be on the hill for the Brewers on Sunday in D.C.
Sunday's key games to watch (all times ET)
Brewers (Gallardo, 16-8) at Nationals (Wang, 2-3), 1:35 p.m. Preview >
Braves (Hudson, 15-6) at Phillies (Lee, 6-7), 1:35 p.m. Preview >
Cardinals (Lohse, 15-3) at Cubs (Germano, 2-8), 2:20 p.m. Preview >
Dodgers (Harang, 9-10) at Reds (Bailey, 12-9), 8:05 p.m. Preview >
If the postseason started today ...
This is how the teams would match up: Postseason Bracket »
To calculate a team's magic number, take the number of games it has remaining and add one. Then subtract the difference in the number of losses between that team and its closest pursuer.
A tiebreaker game will be played to determine a division winner, even if the tied clubs are assured of participating in the postseason. If a division championship tiebreaker is necessary, the head-to-head record between the clubs will determine home-field advantage. If the head-to-head record is tied, then the division record will be the next tiebreaker.
If two clubs are tied for the two Wild Card berths, home-field advantage will be determined by the head-to-head record between the clubs. If the head-to-head record is tied, then the division record will be the next tiebreaker.
2012 postseason schedule
Wild Card playoff games: Oct. 5
Division Series: Oct. 6-12
AL Championship Series: Oct. 13-21
NL Championship Series: Oct. 14-22
World Series: Oct. 24-Nov. 1
Mike Fiammetta is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.