David Freese hit a three-run homer in the first and manager Tony La Russa turned again to his brilliant bullpen for seven sturdy innings as St. Louis captured its 18th pennant with a 12-6 victory over the bumbling Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday night.
Albert Pujols and the wild-card Cardinals took out the heavily favored Phillies in the first round, then dispatched the division-rival Brewers on their own turf in Game 6 of the NL championship series.
“I mean, you could have never known,” Pujols said.
Trailing by 10½ games in the wild-card race on Aug. 25, the Cardinals surged down the stretch and took advantage of a monumental collapse by Atlanta to win a playoff spot on the final night of the regular season.
What a relief!
“Well, it was crazy,” outfielder Matt Holliday said. “We had a lot of adversity, but we found a way.”
Baseball’s best home team collapsed in the NLCS, though, losing twice at Miller Park in an error-filled flop. It was likely Fielder’s final game with the Brewers, too. He can become a free agent after the season.
The group of Fernando Salas, Marc Rzepczynski, Octavio Dotel, Lance Lynn and Jason Motte allowed two runs the rest of the way. For the series, St. Louis relievers finished 3-0 with a 1.88 ERA over 28 2-3 innings.
The biggest scare came when Pujols appeared shaken up after tagging out Braun in the fifth inning when he fell hard on his right forearm on a close play at first base. The three-time MVP was slow to get up, but stayed in the game.
St. Louis went 15-5 over the final 20 games to clinch a playoff spot on the final day of the regular season. TheCardinals needed Carpenter to throw a shutout to beat the Phillies 1-0 in Game 5 of the NLDS, but took control of this series beginning in Game 2 by jumping out to early leads and letting their bullpen lead the way.View Entire Story
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