Cardinals 12, Brewers 3

The Milwaukee Brewers were the best home team in baseball this

season.

Now, they have to win on the road if they want to return to

Miller Park. No easy task for this ballclub.

”I think it’ll work out for us,” said Prince Fielder, who can

become a free agent after the season.

Albert Pujols drove in four of his five runs against Shaun

Marcum, who had another shaky start, and Milwaukee’s bullpen was

roughed up in a 12-3 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 2 of

the NL championship series Monday night.

”We’ll be fine once we get out of this clubhouse,” Marcum

said.

The Brewers were a major league-best 57-24 at home in the

regular season and had won all four of their playoff games at

Miller Park this year, including a 9-6 victory in Game 1 against

the Cardinals.

Now, the best-of-seven series shifts to St. Louis for three

games and Milwaukee will have to win at least once at Busch

Stadium. The Brewers were 39-42 on the road during the season and

lost both games in the first round at Arizona.

”It’s a different series. Different ballpark. Different team.

Our rotation is different,” Brewers rookie manager Ron Roenicke

said. ”Everything is different.”

Yovani Gallardo faces Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter in Game 3 on

Wednesday.

Fielder wasn’t sure if losing home-field advantage would

matter.

”The series isn’t over yet,” he said. ”We’ll see when the

series is over whether it was impactful or not.”

The Brewers allowed 17 hits, and Marcum’s poor performance puts

his role in doubt for the rest of the postseason. He is slated to

be the Game 6 starter, if necessary, but he has allowed 30 runs

over his last 33 innings.

”As far as I’m concerned right now he’s pitching again,”

Roenicke said.

Marcum and Roenicke insisted Sunday that the right-hander hadn’t

been hit hard recently, but was instead a victim of bad luck.

Not on Monday. He was tagged from the start.

Pujols homered to left with one out after Jon Jay had a bunt

single that Marcum failed to field cleanly. Pujols stood at the

plate and admired his drive to left field for a moment before

flipping his bat away.

”Albert doesn’t miss too many pitches on the plate,” Roenicke

said. ”They did a good job of really squaring up the mistakes that

we made.”

Marcum put his hands on his hips in disgust but didn’t behave in

the manner he did during a loss to Arizona in Game 3 of the

division series, when he tossed his glove in the air after Paul

Goldschmidt’s grand slam.

In the third, Cardinals starter Edwin Jackson hit a blooper that

center fielder Nyjer Morgan couldn’t come up with on a dive. Jay

singled with one out and Pujols brought them both in with a double,

clapping and pointing to the sky.

Nick Punto added an RBI single in the fourth and Marcum left

after the inning.

”It’s seven hits and three of them were hit hard,” Marcum

said. ”Been going on for the last six weeks.”

Milwaukee also must find answers after its bullpen faltered.

Brewers relievers had a 1.14 ERA in 71 innings in September and a

1.77 ERA in six postseason games before Monday.

Marco Estrada, Kameron Loe and Chris Narveson all gave up runs

to the Cardinals.

Narveson was Milwaukee’s fifth starter this year and Estrada was

a spot starter when Zack Greinke was injured, leaving Roenicke with

a couple of options if he wants to pull Marcum from a potential

Game 6.

Estrada allowed two runs in the fifth, when Pujols hit an RBI

double and scored on a wild pitch. Loe was even worse, allowing six

hits and four runs while recording only one out in the seventh.

Matt Holliday, Yadier Molina, David Freese and Punto all had RBI

singles to make it 11-2, and Freese homered off Narveson in the

ninth to give St. Louis a 12-3 lead.

”We didn’t execute today in two big areas of the game,

defensively and pitching,” Roenicke said. ”We’re not going to

beat them if we don’t execute in those two areas.”

Rickie Weeks hit a two-run homer in the fourth to cut St. Louis’

lead to 5-2. He bounced into a double play with the bases loaded

and one out in the fifth.

Weeks – hobbled by the lingering effects of a left ankle injury

July 27 – appeared to beat the throw to first base and seemed upset

when he was called out.

Weeks could be seen asking, ”Are you serious?” to first base

umpire Sam Holbrook, but Milwaukee’s shaky defense and lack of a

strong relief made a potential rally moot.

”You guys saw the replay,” Roenicke said. ”That was a big

play.”

Fielder homered in the eighth to make it 11-3, the fourth

postseason homer of his career to break the franchise record he had

shared with Paul Molitor and Ted Simmons.

Marcum was acquired in December in a trade with Toronto for

prospect Brett Lawrie and made a big impact early in the season,

racing out to a 6-1 record.

After slumping through the early summer, he appeared to turn his

season around when he allowed four runs in a span of five starts,

including a one-hit performance in seven innings in a win over

Houston on Sept. 4.

He’s been awful since then, giving up five runs or more in five

of his last six starts and compiling a gaudy 8.18 ERA in the

process that’s left both him and Roenicke searching for an

explanation.

Many of Miller Park’s fans left by the eighth, but those who

stuck around cheered loudly when the Brewers finally got Pujols to

ground out. He finished 4 for 5 with a homer, three doubles, three

runs and five RBIs.

Now, those fans are left to wonder whether the Brewers will be

back.

”It’s 1-1,” Fielder said. ”It’s not over.”

NOTES: Commissioner Bud Selig said he wasn’t sure there was

enough time to implement an expanded playoff system of 10 teams

before next season. … Gallardo is 1-0 with a 1.29 ERA in two

postseason starts. … Carpenter starts on regular rest after his

1-0 shutout in Game 5 to clinch St. Louis’ division series victory

over Philadelphia. … The Brewers went 4-5 at Busch Stadium this

year. … Packers QB Aaron Rodgers was shown on the video board

decked out in a jersey and hat. … Olympic gymnast Chellsie Memmel

posted on Twitter she was at the game.