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By Gary W. Marchese Jr.
St. Louis, MO (Oct 15) – The St. Louis Cardinals defeated the Milwaukee Brewers by the score of 7-1 on Friday night. The win put the Cardinals one win away from the World Series as the best of seven series shifts back to Milwaukee for Game 6 and then 7 if necessary. The Cardinals will have a chance to close out the series on Sunday afternoon or Sunday night depending on what happens with the ALCS on Saturday.
Jaime Garcia started for the Cardinals and once again their starter did not last more than five innings but the Cardinals bullpen was outstanding again. Zach Greinke started for the Brewers and wasn’t great but he also wasn’t helped by his defense.
Garcia for the Cardinals started and pitched 4 2/3 innings giving up seven hits, one run, no walks, and struck out five. Octavio Dotel got the win pitching 1 1/3 perfect innings with two strikeouts three other relievers pitched three innings giving up two hits, no runs with a walk and a strikeout. Greinke for the Brewers pitched 5 2/3 innings giving up seven hits and five runs but only two of them were earned. He walked two batters and didn’t strike out a batter. Marco Estrada pitched one inning and gave up one hit and two runs with two walks and a strikeout. He put the game pretty much out of reach as it went from 5-1 to 7-1 for the Brewers in the ninth inning.
The Cardinals offense was pretty much Yadier Molina and Matt Holliday. They each had three hits, Holliday had two RBI and Molina had one. Rafael Furcal had a hit, Albert Pujols had a hit, RBI and a walk and Lance Berkman had a hit and a walk. David Freese had a hit, a walk, Garcia had an RBI, and Nick Punto drew a walk. Molina, Furcal and Holliday each had a double. The Cardinals were 4-15 with runners in scoring position and they left 11 men on base. Berkman had a stolen base and Garcia picked off a runner.
Corey Hart led the Brewers offense with three hits and an RBI. Jerry Hairston had a hit, a walk, Ryan Braun had a hit, and Carlos Gomez had a hit. Jonathan Lucroy had two hits and Greinke had a hit. Braun had a double, the Brewers were 1-8 with runners in scoring position, and they left seven men on base. Gomez was caught stealing in the game. The Brewers defense really cost them in this game and Hairston, Weeks, Betancourt and Estrada all had an error.
In the second inning, the Cardinals got the scoring started. Molina had an RBI double and Garcia reached on a fielding error by Hairston and two runs scored to give the Cardinals a 3-0 lead. In the fourth, Garcia grounded out and a run scored making it 4-0. The Brewers scored their only run in the fifth on a Hart RBI single. In the sixth Pujols hit an RBI single making it 5-1 Cardinals. In the eighth Holliday hit a two-run double to make it 7-1 and complete the scoring in the game.
The Cardinals now lead three games to two in the best of seven series. The series shifts back to Milwaukee where the Brewers had the best home record. The Cardinals were the team capable of beating Milwaukee at home, this year. It is not impossible but it will not be easy for the Brewers to win both games to advance to the World Series.
The Game 6 pitching matchup is Edwin Jackson of the Cardinals against Sean Marcum. If the game does go to a game seven the Cardinals will have their ace Chris Carpenter on the mound. The Brewers won 57 games at home during the regular season and have won four more games in the postseason. They have won one elimination game already, which was a Game Five in the NLDS against the Diamondbacks. The Brewers besides their four errors also had two non-catches that could have been that cost them.
The Cardinals just keep finding ways to win games in this most improbably run. The Cardinals lost their best starting pitcher in the beginning of the season and were as much as 10 ½ games out in September but caught the Atlanta Braves and won the wild card. The Cardinals also have been getting through this series without a starter going past the fifth inning and their bullpen being great. If you were to say that a starter would not make it past, the fifth you would say the Cardinals would be in big trouble or already have lost the series but that is not the case with this team.
The Cardinals have won a game on get away day for the 16th straight time and are 29-13 since late August. Teams that have taken a 3-2 lead on the road for the last two games of a best of seven series have won the series 26 out of 43 times in major league history. In the NLCS it is seven out of ten times. The Cardinals have not made it easy but they are one win away from another World Series appearance.