MLB

Cardinals 7, Brewers 1

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ST. LOUIS (AP)

Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder failed to come up with any clutch hits, and sloppy Milwaukee committed four errors.

At least the Brewers are headed home.

Zack Greinke pitched into the sixth inning, but the St. Louis Cardinals took advantage of Milwaukee's shaky fielding to score three unearned runs in a 7-1 victory in Game 5 of the NL championship series on Friday night.

St. Louis moved within one win of reaching the World Series for the third time since 2004 and first time since winning it all in 2006.

The NLCS now shifts to Miller Park, where the Brewers compiled a major league-best 57-24 home record this season. Game 6 is Sunday.

''I have a lot of confidence in our guys,'' manager Ron Roenicke said. ''They are confident at home. We can win two ballgames at home. We are going to have to play a lot better baseball than what we have played here. So yesterday, I thought we played a great ballgame; clean. We did a lot of things well. The other two games, no.

So we can't play games like that and beat these guys two in a row.''

St. Louis went 4-5 in Milwaukee this season, more wins than any other visiting team, and split the first two games of the series at Miller Park.

''It was a very important game for us, a must win, I felt like a must win going back to Milwaukee,'' Cardinals slugger Matt Holliday said.

Greinke got off to a shaky start, and his defense didn't help much either.

With one out and Lance Berkman on first in the second inning, Greinke hit David Freese with a pitch and Yadier Molina followed with a double to right that gave the Cardinals the lead.

Third baseman Jerry Hairston Jr. then made a diving stop on Nick Punto's liner before pitcher Jaime Garcia's hard grounder went through his legs for a costly error that allowed two runs to score.

Hairston said the ball hit the lip of where the grass and dirt meet and stayed down instead of bouncing up like he expected.

''You've taken so many ground balls your whole life, you know what a ground ball is going to do,'' he said. ''And then when it just shoots down and scoots, and once it hits that lip, it's just shock.''

Shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt's miscue led to another run in the sixth that made it 5-1. Rafael Furcal reached on a two-out double before Betancourt booted Jon Jay's grounder, putting runners on the corners. Albert Pujols then hit an RBI single into left field.

Greinke (1-1) was charged with five runs, two earned, and seven hits in 5 2-3 innings. He threw 89 pitches, and the Cardinals only swung and missed twice while he was on the mound.

''Zack threw the ball well,'' Roenicke said. ''You know, I know he didn't get the strikeouts, but he still should have given up one run, really, if we make the plays for him. So I like the way he threw it. His fastball was good today. His breaking ball, he couldn't get in the dirt when he wanted to get one down. He couldn't bounce it. That hurt him.''

Second baseman Rickie Weeks and reliever Marco Estrada had the other two fielding blunders. Weeks committed the Brewers' only two errors in the first four games of the series.

It was the most errors by Milwaukee since it also had four at Boston on May 17, 2008. The league championship series record for errors in a game is five, shared by the 1974 Los Angeles Dodgers and 1976 New York Yankees, according to STATS LLC.

Molina and Holliday had three hits each for St. Louis. Holliday capped the scoring with a two-run double in the eighth.

Corey Hart hit an RBI single in the fifth for Milwaukee, but Octavio Dotel came in with two on and two out and struck out Braun to end the threat. Dotel tacked on a perfect sixth.

Braun also bounced into a fielder's choice with two runners on in the eighth. Lefty specialist Marc Rzepczynski then came in and struck out Fielder before Jason Motte got Rickie Weeks on a groundout.

Hart went 3 for 4, breaking out from a 1 for 12 start to the series, but Milwaukee's only extra-base hit was Braun's two-out double in the first. He has reached base in the first inning of the last eight postseason games. But he was 1 for 4 and Fielder was 0 for 4, striking out twice with men in scoring position.

Edwin Jackson is scheduled to start Game 6 for St. Louis, which is seeking its 18th NL pennant. Shaun Marcum is expected to go for Milwaukee.

Marcum is 0-2 with a 12.46 ERA in two postseason starts and gave up five runs in four innings in Game 2, but Roenicke said there was no chance he would move up ace Yovani Gallardo, who would have to pitch on three days' rest for the first time.

The NL winner hosts the World Series opener against Detroit or Texas on Wednesday.

Dotel (1-0) struck out two in 1 1-3 hitless innings, combining with three other relievers for 4 1-3 innings of two-hit ball. Motte got four outs for his second save of the series, leaving Cardinals relievers 2-0 with a 1.66 ERA in 22 2-3 innings. St. Louis starters are 1-2 with a 6.04 ERA.

Only one St. Louis starter has lasted long enough to qualify for a victory, with Chris Carpenter working five innings in Game 3. The previous team to have a starter not pitch into the sixth in the first five games of a postseason series was the 1984 San Diego Padres in the World Series, according to STATS.

St. Louis had been hitless in 15 at-bats with runners in scoring position - and 22 at-bats with runners on base - before Molina's RBI double off the right-field fence. Hart just missed on a leaping attempt at the right-field fence.

Fielder said there's not much left to analyze.

''We have to win both of them, but we've got to win one first,'' he said. ''That's pretty much the mindset. No choice.''

NOTES: Braun has 22 hits in the postseason, matching the franchise record by Paul Molitor and Robin Yount. ... Chuck Berry, a St. Louis musical icon, performed the national anthem with his daughter, Ingrid. Wearing his trademark sailor's cap and a No. 84 Cardinals jersey (his age), Berry mostly watched and threw in occasional harmony. ... Cardinals Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith threw a one-hop first pitch with injured St. Louis starter Adam Wainwright on the receiving end for the third straight night.

Tagged: Octavio Dotel, Nick Punto, Corey Hart, Yadier Molina, Rickie Weeks, Marc Rzepczynski, Cardinals, Zack Greinke, Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun, Jerry Hairston Jr., Matt Holliday, Brewers

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