-- The Chicago Cubs have clinched a playoff spot for the first time since 2008.
The Cubs were assured of at least an NL wild-card slot Friday night when San Francisco lost to Oakland 5-4.
First-year manager Joe Maddon and the Cubs missed a chance to seal a playoff berth much earlier in the day when they lost to Pittsburgh 3-2 at Wrigley Field.
With a 12:05 p.m. start Saturday, Maddon said the only way he would check the score was "probably when I get up to go to the bathroom at night."
Pitcher Jake Arrieta stayed awake.
The road back to the playoffs was a long one for the Cubs, who endured five straight losing seasons and a painful top-to-bottom overhaul under Theo Epstein.
He began loading up the minor league system almost as soon as he was hired in October 2011, and it paid off in a big way.
Young players started to make their way to the majors last season. The Cubs then made it clear they were serious about winning when they hired Maddon and signed Lester in the offseason.
"We'll hopefully celebrate tomorrow and have a good time," said Lester, who like Maddon was not planning to stay up. "These guys have never experienced this. We'll enjoy it."
On Friday, the Pirates hung on for their seventh straight win and increased their lead for the NL's top wild card to 4 1/2 games over the Cubs.
The Cubs trail NL Central-leading St. Louis by 7 1/2 games with nine games left. The Cubs are 4 1/2 behind Pittsburgh for the second wild-card spot.
The Cubs haven't won a playoff game since the 2003 NL Championship Series. The Cubs haven't won the World Series since 2008.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.