ST. LOUIS (Reuters) - The St. Louis Cardinals' mad dash into the World Series has erased a large portion of a $2.8 million city budget gap, preventing the furlough of 7,000 city workers, the mayor said on Friday.

The Cardinals were left for dead in the Major League Baseball playoff race at the beginning of September and the city had decided to furlough the workers for one or two weeks before next July to help balance the budget.

But then the team got hot, erasing a 10-1/2 game deficit to qualify for the playoffs and winning two post-season playoff rounds to reach the World Series against the Texas Rangers.

So far, hosting seven post-season games has generated more than $2 million in unexpected funds for the city, slashing the $2.8 million gap, Mayor Francis Slay said on Friday.

The teams split the first two World Series games held in St. Louis and the next three games will be held in Texas.

If neither team sweeps the games in Texas, St. Louis would be the site of at least one and possibly two more contests, generating up to another $900,000 for the city, Slay said.

(Reporting by Bruce Olson; Editing by David Bailey and Jerry Norton)




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