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Cards within win of pennant, beating Brew Crew 7-1

October 15, 2011

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— The bumbling Brewers made four errors that led to three unearned runs, and the St. Louis Cardinals survived a short start by Jaime Garcia to beat Milwaukee, 7-1, Friday night and take a 3-2 lead in the NL championship series.

Yadier Molina and Matt Holliday had three hits each for St. Louis, which burst to a 3-0 lead in the second when Molina doubled in a run and third baseman Jerry Hairston Jr. allowed Garcia’s grounder to go through his legs. Holliday capped the scoring with a two-run double in the eighth.

“We just keep finding ways to win,” Holliday said. “It’s a team, it’s a group effort. It’s never one guy.”

Milwaukee’s infield nearly had a cycle of errors, with second baseman Rickie Weeks and shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt also committing miscues along with reliever Marco Estrada. Weeks had committed the Brewers’ only two errors in the first four games of the series.

“You give these guys extra outs and they are going to hurt you,” Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said.

The Cardinals have won 14 straight games on getaway days, a run that began on Aug. 7 at Florida. The win gave players another opportunity to chant “Happy Flight! Happy Flight!”

St. Louis can wrap up the best-of-seven series and its 18th NL pennant on Sunday in Milwaukee. Edwin Jackson goes for the Cardinals against Shaun Marcum in a rematch of pitchers from Game 2, won by St. Louis 12-3 as neither starter received a decision.

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

“We’re having a good series right now and, hopefully, we can do it for one more game,” Molina said.

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 was one shy of the LCS record for errors in a game, shared by the 1974 Los Angeles Dodgers and 1976 New York Yankees, according to STATS LLC.

Cardinals manager Tony La Russa had a quick hook once again. Garcia opened with four scoreless innings, then allowing three hits and a sacrifice in a span of four at-bats in the fifth, with Corey Hart singling in a run. With two and on and two outs, Octavio Dotel relieved and struck out Braun.

Dotel (1-0) combined with three other relievers for 41⁄3 innings of scoreless, two-hit relief, leaving Cardinals relievers 2-0 with a 1.66 ERA in 222⁄3 innings.

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