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Pujols fuels Game 2 win; Cards tie series in Milwaukee

CBSSports.com wire reports
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MILWAUKEE -- Your turn, Albert Pujols.

The St. Louis slugger had one of the biggest postseason nights of his career in Game 2 of the NL championship series, going 4 for 5 with a home run, three doubles and five RBI as the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Milwaukee Brewers 12-3 on Monday.

Pujols belted a two-run homer in the first, a two-run double in the third and an RBI double in the fifth, then added another double in the seventh. The crowd cheered sarcastically when the Brewers finally retired him in the eighth.

"Sometimes when they come, they come in a bunch," Pujols said

NLCS: Cardinals at Brewers
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His big hits came one night after Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder bashed the Brewers to a 9-6, come-from-behind victory in Game 1.

This time, the big bats couldn't bring Milwaukee back -- even at Miller Park. The best home team in the majors all season, the Brewers had won all four home games in the playoffs until Monday.

The series now shifts to St. Louis, where Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter faces Brewers right-hander Yovani Gallardo in Game 3 on Wednesday night.

Pujols can become a free agent after the World Series, so a big postseason could raise his price. He was 1 for 4 in Sunday night's loss, hitting into a double play with runners on first and third in the seventh inning. A run scored on the play, but it seemed to be an indication that Pujols wasn't quite on his game. He came into Monday with only one RBI in the Cardinals' first six postseason games.

But he struck a confident tone when asked about his struggles after Sunday night's loss, saying, "Tomorrow I can come and blow it out, and what are you going to say tomorrow?"

Blow it out, he did.

"The last time we saw them at their place he was swinging the bat just like this," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "You can't make mistakes to him. You have to hit spots. You have to keep it down in the zone. He doesn't miss too many mistakes."

Rickie Weeks hit a two-run homer in the fourth for Milwaukee, then was involved in a disputed play in the fifth. With the bases loaded and one out, Weeks grounded into a double play, though replays showed he was safe.

Weeks -- hobbled by the lingering effects of a midseason left ankle injury -- appeared to beat the throw to first base and seemed upset when he was called out.

But that play didn't matter much after the Brewers gave up four runs in a backbreaking seventh inning. Fielder homered in the eighth, well after the outcome had been decided.

Cardinals starter Edwin Jackson went 4 1/3 innings, giving up Weeks' home run. Lance Lynn got the win.

It was a short and ugly start by Milwaukee's Shaun Marcum, who gave up five runs on seven hits in four innings and took the loss. Marcum, obtained in an offseason trade with Toronto, struggled mightily in the final month of the season. After a rough outing in Game 3 of the NL division series against Arizona, his place in the Brewers' postseason rotation might come into question.

"We'll see how it goes," Roenicke said, adding later: "As far as I'm concerned right now he's pitching again."

St. Louis got started early when Jon Jay bunted for a one-out hit in the first. Pujols came to the plate and delivered what amounted to a warning shot, hitting a long fly just foul. Then he zeroed in on Marcum's 2-1 offering, smacking it to left field for a home run.

Pujols stood at the plate and admired his shot for a moment, flipped his bat away and trotted around the bases.

"I've seen Albert like this before," Roenicke said. "He's a great offensive player. He's a heads-up defensive player. He's a heads-up baserunner. This is a great baseball player."

St. Louis added two more runs in the third. Jackson's single fell in when center fielder Nyjer Morgan got a bad break on the ball, tried to make a diving catch and then dropped it. With one out, Jay sneaked a single down the third-base line, again setting the stage for Pujols.

Pujols hammered a pitch deep to center, Morgan missed a chance at what would have been an acrobatic catch, and two runs scored to give the Cardinals a 4-0 lead. Pujols pointed to the sky upon arriving at second base, then clapped his hands.

The Cardinals added another run in the fourth. Yadier Molina doubled, advanced on a groundout and scored when Nick Punto dribbled a single up the middle with the infield in to give St. Louis a 5-0 lead.

Milwaukee finally got to Jackson in the fourth, when Fielder led off with a double and Weeks hit a two-run shot to left to cut the Cardinals' lead to 5-2. A one-out single by Yuniesky Betancourt threatened to keep the rally going, but Jonathan Lucroy grounded into a forceout and Casey McGehee tapped back to the pitcher to end the inning.

Brewers reliever Marco Estrada took over in the fifth, but the Cardinals kept on swinging.

Jay led off with a double and Pujols laced a ball into the gap in right-center for an RBI double. Pujols advanced to third on a groundout, then scored when a ball slipped through Lucroy's legs for a wild pitch. Lucroy found the ball and made a quick throw to Estrada at the plate, but it wasn't in time.

"The bullpen didn't do so well, either," Roenicke said. "We didn't pitch well today."

Milwaukee put runners on second and third after a walk and a one-out double by Braun in the fifth, chasing Jackson. Arthur Rhodes walked Fielder to load the bases and Cardinals manager Tony La Russa made another pitching change, bringing in Lynn, who got Weeks to ground into the disputed double play.

"You guys saw the replay," Roenicke said. "That was a big play."

Things fell apart completely for the Brewers in a four-run seventh. Pujols led off with a double and Matt Holliday, Molina, David Freese and Punto delivered RBI singles.

Freese homered in the ninth, his second of the series.

Notes

  • Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers attended the game, getting a huge cheer from the crowd when he was shown on the stadium video board in the middle of the second inning. Rodgers has developed a friendship with Braun.
  • A foul popup dropped between Pujols and Molina in the second inning, leaving them staring blankly at each other.
  • Attendance was 43,937.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Players of the Game
St. Louis

A. Pujols
AB 5
R 3
H 4
HR 1
RBI 5
Milwaukee

P. Fielder
AB 3
R 2
H 2
HR 1
RBI 1
 
St. Louis Cardinals
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Rafael Furcal, SS5000015 .219
Jon Jay, CF5330000 .286
Albert Pujols, 1B5345000 .414
    Daniel Descalso, 2B0000000 .000
Matt Holliday, LF3111112 .313
   a- Allen Craig, PH-LF1000000 .091
Lance Berkman, RF4110013 .231
    Marc Rzepczynski, P0000000 .000
   b- Kyle Lohse, PH1000011 .000
    Mitchell Boggs, P0000000 .000
    Jason Motte, P0000000 .000
Yadier Molina, C-1B5221000 .222
David Freese, 3B5122011 .308
Nick Punto, 2B4022000 .273
   c- Gerald Laird, PH-C1000010 .000
Edwin Jackson, P1110000 .333
    Arthur Rhodes, P0000000 .000
    Lance Lynn, P0000000 .000
   d- Ryan Theriot, PH1010000 .467
    Fernando Salas, P0000000 .000
   e- Adron Chambers, PH-RF2000022 .200
Totals4312171118  
a-grounded out for Holliday in the 8th
b-struck out for Rzepczynski in the 8th
c-struck out for Punto in the 9th
d-singled for Lynn in the 6th
e-struck out for Salas in the 7th
Batting
2B - Jon Jay (1, M. Estrada), Albert Pujols 3 (6, Marcum, M. Estrada, Loe), Yadier Molina (1, Marcum)
HR - Albert Pujols (1, Marcum), David Freese (3, Narveson)
SH - Edwin Jackson (1)
RBI - Albert Pujols 5 (6), Matt Holliday (2), Yadier Molina (2), David Freese 2 (10), Nick Punto 2 (2)
CS - Matt Holliday (1, 2nd base by Marcum/Lucroy)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
DP - Furcal-Punto-Pujols
St. Louis Cardinals
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Edwin Jackson 4.1722131 3.48
Arthur Rhodes0000100 0.00
Lance Lynn (W,1-0) 0.2000000 0.00
Fernando Salas 1000010 1.93
Marc Rzepczynski 1000100 10.13
Mitchell Boggs 1111001 6.75
Jason Motte 1000000 0.00
Pitches-Strikes - Edwin Jackson 82-46, Arthur Rhodes 6-2, Lance Lynn 1-1, Fernando Salas 13-9, Marc Rzepczynski 15-7, Mitchell Boggs 14-7, Jason Motte 15-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Edwin Jackson 4-6, Lance Lynn 1-0, Marc Rzepczynski 2-1, Mitchell Boggs 3-0, Jason Motte 1-2
Batters Faced - Edwin Jackson 21, Arthur Rhodes 1, Lance Lynn 1, Fernando Salas 3, Marc Rzepczynski 4, Mitchell Boggs 4, Jason Motte 3
Milwaukee Brewers
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Corey Hart, RF4000110 .207
Nyjer Morgan, CF3000111 .150
    Chris Narveson, P0000000 .000
Ryan Braun, LF4020011 .500
Prince Fielder, 1B3221101 .333
Rickie Weeks, 2B4112001 .120
    Taylor Green, 2B0000000 .000
Jerry Hairston Jr., 3B4010000 .375
Yuniesky Betancourt, SS4020000 .346
Jonathan Lucroy, C3000013 .227
   a- Mark Kotsay, PH1000000 .000
Shaun Marcum, P1000002 .000
   b- Casey McGehee, PH1000001 .250
    Marco Estrada, P0000000 .000
    Kameron Loe, P0000000 .000
    LaTroy Hawkins, P0000000 .000
   c- Carlos Gomez, PH-CF2000000 .333
Totals3438334  
a-grounded out for Lucroy in the 9th
b-grounded out for Marcum in the 4th
c-grounded out for Hawkins in the 7th
Batting
2B - Ryan Braun (6, Jackson), Prince Fielder (3, Jackson)
HR - Prince Fielder (3, Boggs), Rickie Weeks (1, Jackson)
RBI - Prince Fielder (6), Rickie Weeks 2 (3)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
DP - Lucroy-Betancourt
E - Rickie Weeks (2, Throwing)
Milwaukee Brewers
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Shaun Marcum (L,0-2) 4755111 12.46
Marco Estrada 2322030 3.60
Kameron Loe 0.1644000 15.43
LaTroy Hawkins 0.2000010 0.00
Chris Narveson 2111031 8.31
WP - Marco Estrada (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Shaun Marcum 72-42, Marco Estrada 36-25, Kameron Loe 13-10, LaTroy Hawkins 7-6, Chris Narveson 27-20
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Shaun Marcum 7-3, Marco Estrada 2-1, Kameron Loe 1-0, Chris Narveson 2-2
Batters Faced - Shaun Marcum 19, Marco Estrada 9, Kameron Loe 7, LaTroy Hawkins 2, Chris Narveson 8
Game Information
Attendance - 43937
Game Time - 3:36
Temperature - 69
Umpires - Home - Tim Timmons, First Base - Sam Holbrook, Second Base - Mike Everitt, Third Base - Bill Miller