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NLCS, Game 5: St. Louis Cardinals defeat Milwaukee Brewers 7-1, move within one win of NL pennant

First baseman Albert Pujols puts the Cardinals ahead 5-1 with an RBI single to shallow leftfield off Brewers starter Zack Greinke with two outs in the sixth inning. Greinke, who was pulled immediately after, gives up five runs — two earned.

Associated Press

First baseman Albert Pujols puts the Cardinals ahead 5-1 with an RBI single to shallow leftfield off Brewers starter Zack Greinke with two outs in the sixth inning. Greinke, who was pulled immediately after, gives up five runs — two earned.

ST. LOUIS — The bumbling Brewers made four errors that led to three unearned runs, and the Cardinals survived a short start by Jaime Garcia for a 7-1 victory Friday night to take a 3-2 lead in the NL Championship Series.

Yadier Molina and Matt Holliday had three hits each for St. Louis, which burst to a 3-0 lead in the second when Molina doubled in a run and third baseman Jerry Hairston allowed Garcia's grounder to go through his legs. Holliday capped the scoring with a two-run single in the eighth.

Milwaukee's infield nearly had a cycle of errors, with second baseman Rickie Weeks and shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt committing miscues along with reliever Marco Estrada. Weeks had committed the Brewers' only two errors in the first four games of the series.

St. Louis can wrap up the best-of-seven series and its 18th NL pennant in Game 6 on Sunday in Milwaukee. Edwin Jackson goes for the Cardinals against Shaun Marcum in a rematch of pitchers from Game 2, won by St. Louis 12-3 as neither starter received a decision.

The NL winner hosts the World Series opener against Detroit or Texas on Wednesday.

Milwaukee had not made more than three errors in a game during the regular season, but the Brewers' sloppiness reached a near-record level. Milwaukee was one shy of the LCS record for errors in a game, shared by the 1974 Dodgers and 1976 Yankees, according to STATS LLC.

Cardinals manager Tony La Russa had a quick hook once again.

Garcia opened with four scoreless innings, then allowed three hits and a sacrifice in a span of four at-bats in the fifth. With two on and two outs, Octavio Dotel relieved and struck out Ryan Braun. Dotel struck out two in 1⅓ hitless innings, combining with three other relievers for 4⅓ innings of scoreless, two-hit relief.

Jason Motte got four outs for his second save of the series, leaving Cardinals relievers 2-0 with a 1.66 ERA in 22⅔ innings.

St. Louis starters are 1-2 with a 6.04 ERA.

Brewers starter Zack Greinke left pitches over the plate in some key spots and allowed five runs — just two earned — and seven hits in 5⅔ innings with no strikeouts and two walks.

Greinke dropped his postseason ERA to 6.48, and he failed to strike out a batter in a start for the first time all season.

Looking ahead, if the Brewers have more than the usual hope, it's because they have the potential for two more games at Miller Park, where they posted baseball's best home record this season.

NLCS: Cardinals 3, Brewers 2

Game 1: Brewers 9, Cardinals 6

Game 2: Cardinals 12, Brewers 3

Game 3: Cardinals 4, Brewers 3

Game 4: Brewers 4, Cardinals 2

Friday: Cardinals 7, Brewers 1

Sunday, 4:05: Cardinals (Jackson, 12-9, 3.79) at Brewers (Marcum, 13-7, 3.54)

Monday, 8:05: Cardinals at Brewers *

* If necessary; all games on TBS

ALCS, Game 6: Tigers at Rangers,

8:05 tonight, Ch. 13

NLCS, Game 5: St. Louis Cardinals defeat Milwaukee Brewers 7-1, move within one win of NL pennant 10/14/11 [Last modified: Saturday, October 15, 2011 5:53pm]
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