x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Cardinals one win away from World Series

Thanks to Tony La Russa, the St Louis manager, once again making all the right moves, and Milwaukee making all the wrong moves with four errors, the Cardinals are a win away from the World Series.

Prince Fielder and his Milwaukee teammates stumbled about in Game 5 with four errors, one short of the League Championship Series record and the most since 2001 when the Atlanta Braves also committed four.
Prince Fielder and his Milwaukee teammates stumbled about in Game 5 with four errors, one short of the League Championship Series record and the most since 2001 when the Atlanta Braves also committed four.

Tony La Russa, the St Louis manager, called up some more bullpen magic for the Cardinals, and yet another round of spotless relief has moved a team that squeaked into the post-season on the final day one victory away from the World Series.

Not bad for a team that is on their fifth closer of the season, and Jason Motte remains unofficial in that capacity.

Matt Holliday, the St Louis outfielder, said La Russa is "just trying to do whatever he can to win".

"If the spot calls for it, our bullpen's been incredible. They're really fit into roles and it's been fun to watch," Holliday said.

St Louis won 7-1 to take a 3-2 lead in the National League Championship Series (NLCS), but the Brewers made it easier for the Cardinals with four errors, one more than their high in a game during the regular season, leading to three unearned runs against Zack Greinke.

"We're going back home and hopefully we play great at home like we have the whole year," said the Brewers infielder Jerry Hair-ston Jr, whose error permitted two runs to score in the second.

St Louis can wrap up the series and their 18th National League pennant tonight in Milwaukee. Edwin Jackson will start for the Cardinals against Shaun Marcum in a rematch of Game 2, won by St Louis 12-3.

"I'm not really looking back or forward, just trying to stay game to game," said Prince Fielder, the Brewers slugger. "We have to win both of them, but we've got to win first." The NL winners host the World Series opener on Wednesday.

Milwaukee had not made more than three errors in a game during the regular season, but the Brewers' sloppiness reached a near-record level. Milwaukee were one shy of the LCS record for errors in a game, shared by the 1974 Los Angeles Dodgers and 1976 New York Yankees.

Aside from that, the talk was of La Russa and his liberal use of his bullpen. Jaime Garcia opened with four scoreless innings, then allowed three hits and a sacrifice in a span of four at-bats in the fifth, with Corey Hart singling in a run. With two on and two outs, La Russa summoned Octavio Dotel, who struck out Ryan Braun. Motte came on in the eighth and got four outs for his second save.

Cardinals relievers are 2-0 with a 1.66 ERA in 22-2/3 innings, holding batters to a .164 average. The starters are 1-2 with a 6.04 ERA, and have allowed a .340 average.

* Agencies