Monday, October 17, 2011
Freese helps Cardinals win 18th pennant
For the second time in the last six seasons, the St. Louis Cardinals are headed back to the World Series. Thanks to two four-run innings and three home runs, the Cardinals defeated the Milwaukee Brewers 12-6 in Game 6 of the NLCS Sunday to clinch their 18th pennant. It's Tony La Russa's sixth trip to the World Series and his third with the Cardinals. That's most among current managers and tied for sixth most all-time.
David Freese went 3-4 including a single, double and three-run home run and scored three runs. He finished the LCS with three home runs, a .545 batting average and nine RBI en route to winning MVP. The only other player to hit all three of those benchmarks in a postseason series is Lou Gehrig who hit .545 with four home runs and nine RBI against the Cardinals in the 1928 World Series. Freese is the fourth third baseman to win LCS MVP joining Graig Nettles, George Brett and Gary Gaetti.
The teams scored in each of the first five half-innings, just the second time that's happened in postseason history according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The other instance was Game 3 of the 1910 World Series between the Philadelphia Athletics and Cubs.
Elias also says this is the first postseason game in which one of the teams hit a leadoff home run in each of the first three innings. St. Louis was the first team to score first in all six games of a postseason series.
The Cardinals lost five of nine games at Miller Park during the regular season, but took two of three in Milwaukee this series. They are just the fourth Wild Card team to win the LCS by eliminating their division champion on that team's home field.
Brewers starter Shaun Marcum lasted just one inning allowing four earned runs. Marcum finished the postseason with a 14.90 ERA, the highest single postseason ERA among pitchers with a minimum nine innings. He's the sixth starter to go no more than one inning in an NLCS game in the Wild Card era.
The Brewers' defense didn't help either as they committed nine errors in the series including seven in their last two games. The nine errors are most in a NLCS and one shy of the LCS record set by the 1999 Red Sox.
Albert Pujols homered for the second time in the series and moved past Bernie Williams and George Brett into second place for most home runs in the LCS. Only Manny Ramirez has more LCS home runs with 13.