Birthday boy Mike Matheny was working out when he saw that he’d done something no Cardinals manager had since the Great Depression.

General manager John Mozeliak was on the bus with some players when they heard the final score from Washington and knew the Redbirds had earned a postseason berth for the third consecutive season.

The Cardinals already in the clubhouse had to find out from reporters or others because every television was tuned to football not their postseason fate.

There was no jubilation no champagne iced.

Toasts can wait.

“We’ll have a good conversation about it” said Matheny who turned 43 on Sunday. “We’ve got work ahead of us. We’ve got things we need to do.”

Hours before the Cardinals lost 6-4 to the Brewers late Sunday night at Miller Park the club already had clinched a postseason invitation. The Washington Nationals’ loss to Miami in the first game of a doubleheader assured the Cards of at least the National League’s second wild-card berth into October.

It is the 10th time since 2000 that the Cardinals will appear in the postseason and the second time in as many seasons as manager that Matheny has led the team into the playoffs.

He is the first Cardinals manager since Gabby Street in 1930 and 1931 to get the club to the postseason in his first two seasons as a manager though in Street’s case there were only pennants to be had not multiple playoff rounds.

The Cardinals received “postseason” hats after the game though no player wore one. Matheny gave a postgame congratulations to the team citing how many players had ever been in the majors – around 17000 – and then mentioning the small percentage of them to ever play in the postseason.

“Acknowledge the accomplishment” but there’s more to go was the message. The Cardinals (91-65) hold a two-game lead on Pittsburgh and Cincinnati which both are 89-67. A division title allows the Cardinals to skip the one-game wild-card playoff and go to a National League division series. Home-field advantage throughout the NL postseason still is possible as the Cardinals trail Atlanta for the best record in the league by 1½ games.