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MLB Playoffs - Cardinals Complete Improbable Run To World Series

Johnie Freatman |
October 17, 2011 | 1:01 p.m. PDT

Associate Sports Editor

After barely making the playoffs, the Cardinals are headed to the championship series. (Keith Allison via Creative Commons)
After barely making the playoffs, the Cardinals are headed to the championship series. (Keith Allison via Creative Commons)
Here are some things you may have missed in Sunday’s National League Championship Series action.

St. Louis Cardinals 12, Milwaukee Brewers 6- St. Louis Wins Series 4-2

COMEBACK CARDS- For all the World Series anticipation in St. Louis right now, it’s important to remember just how close the Cardinals were to not even making the playoffs. The Cardinals were 10-and-a-half games back in the wild card race on August 25 and clinched a playoff berth on the final day of the regular season, after some clutch play and a September swoon by the Braves.

PHENOMENAL FREESE- David Freese continued his excellent postseason play with a huge three-run home run in the first inning, giving the Cardinals a 4-0 lead. As unexpected as Freese’s play has been, it is also historic. He finished the series with a .545 average, three home runs and nine RBI, to become only the second player ever to reach all three of those benchmarks in a postseason series. The first? Lou Gehrig in the 1928 World Series. The Cardinals are getting all this from a guy who hit .297 during the regular season…and once almost left the game of baseball.

PUJOLS POWER- Albert Pujols contributed to the victory with a solo home run and RBI single. Pujols’ blast was the 10th of his career in the LCS- second all-time to the 13 hit by Manny Ramirez.

FIELDER’S FINALE?- With the Brewers loss, it is likely that Prince Fielder has played his last game in a Milwaukee uniform. Though noncommittal after the game, Fielder said earlier this season that he would not re-sign with Milwaukee, a fact not lost on those in attendance. The Brewers faithful gave Fielder a loud round of applause in his final at-bat and Cardinals manager Tony La Russa could even be seen tipping his cap to Fielder late in the game.

FIELDING FOIBLES- After committing four errors in its Game 5 loss, Milwaukee made three in the fifth inning alone Sunday night. Two were charged to Jerry Hairston on one very bizarre play.

MARCUM DOWN- This was a forgettable postseason for Shaun Marcum, who gave up four runs in only one inning Sunday as Milwaukee’s starting pitcher Sunday. Marcum’s postseason ERA for 2011 was 16.20.

BULLISH BULLPEN- Though Cardinals starting pitcher Edwin Jackson struggled while giving up four runs in only two innings, the St. Louis bullpen was up to the task yet again, pitching seven solid innings. In fact, St. Louis is only the second team in postseason history to win a best-of-seven series after getting more outs from its relievers than starters.


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