for this game

Cards take 3-2 lead behind bullpen, Brewers errors

Oct 15, 2011 - 5:13 AM St. Louis, MO (Sports Network) - The St. Louis Cardinals are one win away from the World Series, thanks to another solid effort from their bullpen and four Milwaukee errors.

Brewers third baseman Jerry Hairston's fielding error in the second inning allowed two key runs to score, and the Cardinals went on to win 7-1 in Game 5 of the National League Championship Series.

Yadier Molina, Jaime Garcia and Albert Pujols each had an RBI for the Cardinals, who bounced back from Thursday's 4-2 loss to take a 3-2 series lead. Matt Holliday recorded the knockout blow with a two-run double in the eighth.

"Well, the errors are a part of the game, and I know the shortstops put on a clinic in this series and it just shows you, they are not routine balls, the ball is jumping all over the place," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. "And competition that's this close, if you can take advantage of one of those or two of those, it could be the difference."

Garcia lasted just 4 2/3 innings in the start for St. Louis, which hasn't had a starter go past five frames in the first five games of this series. Garcia only gave up one run on seven hits to go along with five strikeouts.

Octavio Dotel (2-0) pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings to pick up the win. Lance Lynn, Marc Rzepczynski and Jason Motte also did not allow a run.

But the Cardinals will have to beat the statistics if they want to advance to their 18th World Series and their third in the last eight seasons, having also made the trip in 2004 and 2006. No team has won any postseason series when their starters failed to go more than five innings in any of the first five games.

Corey Hart knocked in the lone run for the Brewers, who have to feel good about going back home for the final two games. Milwaukee excelled at home during the regular season, setting a franchise record by going 57-24, and the club has a mark of 4-1 at Miller Park during the postseason.

Zack Greinke (1-1) gave up five runs -- two earned -- on seven hits over 5 2/3 innings to take the loss for Milwaukee, which fell to 4-12 all time on the road in the postseason.

Game 6 is scheduled for Sunday. Edwin Jackson of the Cardinals will be opposed by Shaun Marcum.

The Cardinals never looked back after scoring three runs in the second inning. Lance Berkman led off with a single to center and David Freese was hit by a pitch two batters later. Molina followed with an RBI double off the wall in right. The ball sailed over the glove of Hart, who went crashing into the wall. The run snapped St. Louis' 0-for-15 skid with runners in scoring position.

Hairston followed with one great play and one big error. Nick Punto hit a sharp liner to Hairston, who made a nice diving grab for the second out. Garcia then stepped to the plate and hit a routine grounder to Hairston, who saw the ball go through his legs. The ball rolled into left field and two runs scored on the play for a 3-0 margin.

"You know, Jerry Hairston makes a great diving play on the one before and then he lets one get through his legs, certainly not typical for him," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said.

Garcia kept his team in front by working out of a jam in the third. Greinke and Hart hit consecutive one-out singles to put men on the corners. After Hairston struck out swinging, Ryan Braun fouled out to first. Pujols made a great over-the-shoulder catch to record the final out.

The Cardinals tacked on another run in the fourth. After Freese led off with a single to right, Molina hit a blooper to shallow center field. The ball was just out of second baseman Rickie Weeks' reach. A sacrifice bunt put runners on second and third. Garcia then helped his own cause with an RBI groundout. Rafael Furcal followed with a liner to center field, but Carlos Gomez made a great diving catch to keep it 4-0.

The Brewers finally got on the board in the fifth. Jonathan Lucroy reached on an infield single with one out, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and crossed the plate on Hart's two-out single to left. Hairston followed with a single of his own. Once again a St. Louis starting pitcher failed to make it past the fifth inning, as Dotel was called in from the bullpen. He struck out Braun to maintain St. Louis' 4-1 edge.

"Well, I wasn't really thinking that I was going to be in the game in that situation, because Jaime was throwing a really good game and the way he was throwing, and the way he -- we always check the count pitching, he got like 60-something pitches. So I never thought I'm going to be in that game," Dotel said.

After stranding the bases loaded in the fifth, St. Louis responded with a run in the sixth. Furcal hit a two-out double down the right-field line to get things started. Jon Jay reached base on shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt's error to put men on the corners. Pujols continued his torrid postseason with an RBI single to left for a 5-1 lead. Chris Narveson came in from the bullpen and got Berkman to ground out.

Lynn worked around a one-out single in the seventh, but had some trouble in the eighth. Hart singled and Hairston walked to begin the inning. Runners were at the corners after Braun grounded into a fielder's choice. Rzepczynski came in from the bullpen and struck out Prince Fielder. Motte came in to face Weeks, who grounded out to third.

Holliday's two-run double off Marco Estrada in the eighth made it 7-1.

Game Notes

Chris Carpenter's five-inning start in Game 3 is the longest outing by a Cardinals starter in the series....Greinke earned the win in Game 1 of this series, but was not sharp, as he allowed six runs and eight hits in six innings of work...Garcia allowed six runs in four innings in Game 1...This year is the fifth time the Cardinals have been tied after four games in the NLCS. In each of the previous four instances, St. Louis has gone to win the series and advance to the Fall Classic (1985, 1987, 2004 and 2006)...Freese, in his first career postseason, extended his hitting streak in October to nine games...Lynn and Motte each tossed 1 1/3 scoreless innings...The Brewers are the third team to have four errors in an NLCS game.