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Brewers win Game 1 behind 6-run inning

Oct 10, 2011 - 1:07 AM Milwaukee, WI (Sports Network) - Prince Fielder and Yuniesky Betancourt both homered during a six-run fifth inning to help the Milwaukee Brewers beat the St. Louis Cardinals, 9-6, in Game 1 of the National League Championship Series.

Milwaukee excelled at home during the regular season, setting a franchise record by going 57-24, and that success has carried over into the postseason.

The Brewers won all three games at home against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the NLDS, including a 10th-inning victory in Game 5 on Friday. Nyjer Morgan's game-winning RBI single gave the Brewers their first postseason series win in 29 years.

Ryan Braun added a two-run homer and four RBI on Sunday for Milwaukee, which is in a League Championship Series for the first time since 1982 when it beat the Angels in the ALCS before falling to St. Louis in the World Series.

"Yeah, I think so. Yeah. Definitely," Fielder said about Braun. "Whenever he's hitting, and hitting the ball all over the place, I think he wears the pitcher down. So the pitcher is a little worn down and hopefully he'll make a mistake to me, too."

The NL Central-champion Brewers handed the ball to Zack Greinke (1-0), who gave up six runs on eight hits over six-plus innings. Greinke was a perfect 11-0 in 15 home starts during the regular season.

David Freese hit a three-run homer for the Cardinals, who shocked the baseball world by taking out the 102-win Phillies in the NLDS with a heart-pounding 1-0 win in Game 5 on Friday.

The Cardinals, who are back in this round for the 10th time in team history and the first time since 2006 when they won the World Series, got an RBI apiece from Lance Berkman and Matt Holliday.

Jaime Garcia (0-2) allowed six runs on six hits over four-plus innings to take the loss.

Game 2 of this best-of-seven series is set for Monday. St. Louis' Edwin Jackson will be opposed by Shaun Marcum.

Trailing 5-2, the Brewers exploded for six runs in the fifth to go in front. Corey Hart singled and Jerry Hairston Jr. doubled to begin the big inning. Braun followed with a two-run double down the right-field line and Fielder then knocked Garcia out of the game with a homer to right-center field.

Octavio Dotel took over on the mound for the Cardinals, but his luck was the same. Rickie Weeks hit a grounder to Dotel, whose throw to first was way off the mark. Betancourt followed with his first career postseason homer -- a blast over the wall in left-center field. Dotel finally got out of the inning, but not before Milwaukee took an 8-5 lead.

"That was a nice inning there," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "It was nice Brauny, in the first inning with the two-run homer. But to score like we did there, yeah, that's outstanding."

St. Louis was able to get one run back in the seventh. Rafael Furcal led off with a single to chase Greinke from the game. Takashi Saito came on in relief and gave up a single to Jon Jay to put men on the corners. Albert Pujols plated a run when he grounded into a double play but Berkman popped out to keep it an 8-6 game.

Jonathan Lucroy hit an RBI single off Kyle McClellan in the home seventh to give the Brewers a 9-6 edge.

Francisco Rodriguez pitched a scoreless eighth and John Axford tossed a perfect ninth to seal Milwaukee's victory.

The Cardinals scored a run in the first inning. With one out, Jay walked and Pujols singled to put men on first and second. After Berkman struck out swinging on a foul tip, Holliday hit an RBI single to right.

But Braun put Milwaukee ahead with one swing of the bat in the home first. Hairston walked with one out and crossed the plate on Braun's 463-foot homer to left-center field.

A warning was then issued to both benches after Fielder was hit by a pitch. Weeks walked to put men on first and second, but Garcia struck out the next two batters.

"Hurt him? He cruised," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said when asked if the warning hurt Garcia. "He pitched great, he got us three zeroes, 2nd, 3rd, 4th. 5th inning is a tough inning, the top of the lineup, some good hitters."

St. Louis used a homer of its own in the fourth to take the lead back. Berkman singled and Yadier Molina walked around a Holliday strikeout. Freese stepped to the plate and crushed a slow curveball over the wall in right-center field for a 4-2 edge.

The visitors tacked on another run in the fifth. Furcal led off with a double to center and moved to third on Jay's groundout. Pujols struck out swinging for the second out, but Berkman hit an RBI single to right for a 5-2 margin.

Game Notes

The Cardinals finished six games behind the Brewers in the NL Central this season. The two teams split 18 games in the regular season and are meeting for the second time in the postseason...Only twice since the addition of the wild card have two teams from the National League Central met in the NLCS. It also happened in 2005, when the Astros knocked the Cardinals out of the playoffs...Six runs in an inning tied a Brewers postseason record, with the only other time coming in the seventh inning of Game 4 of the 1982 World Series vs. St. Louis...Braun set a Brewers single-game postseason record with four RBI...In the previous 19 NLCS the winner of Game 1 has gone on to win the series 16 times.