MLB Playoffs: Cardinals Power Past Brewers to Claim NL Title

The St. Louis Cardinals offense put on quite the show Sunday night, leading to a 12-6 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers.  With the win, the Cardinals are National League champs once again and are set to take on the Texas Rangers in the 2011 World Series.

St. Louis and Milwaukee went blow-for-blow early.  Each club scored in the 1st and 2nd frames, leading to a 5-4 Cardinals advantage after two.  But from there St. Louis quickly separated itself, scoring four more runs in the top of the 3rd inning and running away with the deciding game six victory.

Following Lance Berkman’s RBI single in the first, David Freese, later named NLCS MVP, launched his third home run of the series.  Freese’s bomb put the Cardinals up 4-0 early, but it was just the first of Sunday’s parade of long balls.

Corey Hart homered in the bottom half of the 1st to get Milwaukee on the board, but a solo shot off the bat of Rafael Furcal canceled out Hart’s run.  St. Louis looked like it was prepared to cruise to an easy victory, but the Brewers proved they had some fight left in them.

With the Cardinals up 5-1, Rickie Weeks and Jonathan Lucroy went deep to cut St. Louis’s lead to one.  Just when it things started to get interesting again, the Cardinals offense delivered the knockout punch, producing another four run inning.

St. Louis once again leaned heavily upon their pen, as manager Tony La Russa yanked starting pitcher Edwin Jackson after only two innings.  Five Cardinals relievers were used to finish out the game.  The quintet combined to log seven innings, allowing two runs on three hits while striking out seven batters.  Octavio Dotel, Lance Lynn and Jason Motte finished the game for the Cardinals with 2 2/3 innings of perfect relief.

Offensively, it was more of the same for the Cardinals.  Albert Pujols, Matt Holliday and Freese continued their impressive play, combining to go 7-13 with three extra base hits and five RBI’s.  For the series, each player maintained an OPS north of 1.150.  Freese and Pujols each contributed six extra base hits and nine RBI’s during the NLCS.

While the Cardinals offense put up some fantastic numbers during the series, the real story of the NLCS is St. Louis’s bullpen.

Cardinals starters threw 24 1/3 innings over the six games, good for just over four frames a start.  Over that span, the starters combined to allow 19 earned runs, resulting in an ERA of 7.10.

Meanwhile, St. Louis relied on its bullpen to log 28 2/3 innings this series.  Over that span, Cardinals relievers allowed just six earned runs, giving them a combined ERA of 1.92.

With each league’s champion now decided, the Cardinals will take on the Texas Rangers in the 2011 World Series which is set to begin Wednesday night.

For more on the Brewers and Cardinals, be sure to check out Reviewing the Brew and Redbird Rants.

Tags: Albert Pujols Corey Hart David Freese Edwin Jackson Jason Motte Jonathan Lucroy Lance Berkman Lance Lynn Matt Holliday Milwaukee Brewers Octavio Dotel Rafael Furcal Rickie Weeks St Louis Cardinals Texas Rangers

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