Refresh
Page last updated on Sun Apr 20 22:12:01 EDT 2014
RECAP
10/17/2011 5:27 AM EDT
Pujols, Cardinals take wild ride to World Series
ST LOUIS 12, MILWAUKEE 6

By COLIN FLY
AP Sports Writer

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Left behind in the postseason race, the St.
Louis Cardinals decided that they'd focus on small goals in
September. Now, the ultimate one is within reach.

The Cardinals' wild ride is headed to the World Series.

"It's kind of surreal that we're here," said third baseman David
Freese, who took MVP honors in the series. "But this team
deserves what we've been rewarded."

Freese hit a three-run homer in the first inning and manager
Tony La Russa again turned to his brilliant bullpen for seven
sturdy innings as St. Louis captured its 18th pennant with a
12-6 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday night.

"For two weeks in August we started mugging games left and right
and we had to say, hey, look, unless we go about this better,
we're going to ruin everything we accomplished as far as
respect," La Russa said. "And we started winning a little bit.
And literally played every game like it was the last game of our
life."

Trailing by 10 1/2 games in the wild-card race on Aug. 25, the
Cardinals surged down the stretch and took advantage of a
monumental collapse by Atlanta to win a playoff spot on the
final night of the regular season.

In a twist of fate, it was Philadelphia that helped them get in
by completing a three-game sweep of the Braves.

Once in the postseason, Albert Pujols and the Cardinals took out
the heavily favored Phillies in the first round, then dispatched
the division-rival Brewers on their own turf in Game 6 of the NL
championship series.

"I mean, you could have never known," Pujols said.

Freese, often overlooked in a lineup anchored by All-Stars,
batted .545 with three homers and nine RBIs in the series.

Looking for its second title in six seasons, St. Louis opens the
World Series at home Wednesday night with ace Chris Carpenter on
the mound against the AL champion Texas Rangers.

It's been such a frenetic run, it seems fitting that a squirrel
has become the team's unofficial mascot.

The rally squirrel started in the division series against
Philadelphia when the furry rodent scampered across home plate
during Game 4. Another squirrel was on the field before Game 5
when Carpenter shut out the Phillies.

Reliever Octavio Dotel carries a small, stuffed squirrel with
him after a Philadelphia fan tossed it to him in jest, a
tangible sign of where the Cardinals have come from.

"I lay in my bed thinking, 'Wow, we are in this position.' I
cannot believe it personally. I can't believe where we are after
the way we played the last month, and the way Atlanta played,"
Dotel said. "It's crazy to be where we are right now. I don't
know how to explain that to you. The only thing I know is we're
here and we're looking forward to keep winning games."

Bolstered by a group of no-name relievers who keep answering La
Russa's call, the Cardinals are back in the World Series for the
first time since beating Detroit in 2006.

"We had a lot of adversity, but we found a way," Cardinals left
fielder Matt Holliday said.

It was a disappointing end to a scintillating season for Prince
Fielder, Ryan Braun and the NL Central champion Brewers, who
finished with a franchise-record 96 wins, six games ahead of St.
Louis in the division.

Baseball's best home team collapsed in the NLCS, though, losing
twice at Miller Park in an error-filled flop. It was likely
Fielder's final game with the Brewers, too. He can become a free
agent after the season.

"I had to clear the throat once, but it was all right. I love
these guys," said Fielder, a first-round draft pick in 2002.
"I've been playing with most of them since I was 18. So this
organization has been great to me."

Rafael Furcal and Pujols hit solo homers off Chris Narveson and
St. Louis built a 9-4 lead by the time the bullpen took over for
Edwin Jackson in the third inning.

The group of Fernando Salas, Marc Rzepczynski, Dotel, Lance Lynn
and Jason Motte allowed two runs the rest of the way. For the
series, St. Louis relievers finished 3-0 with a 1.88 ERA over 28
2-3 innings.

The most lasting image of this NLCS has been La Russa on the
bullpen phone.

"He's a genius, isn't he?" said Motte, the fifth closer this
year for the Cardinals.

St. Louis built an 11-5 lead before the biggest scare came when
Pujols was shaken up after tagging out Braun in the fifth
inning. The three-time MVP fell hard on his right forearm on a
close play at first base.

"I got spiked. I didn't feel too good but as long as I can walk
I'm playing in that game," Pujols said. "It's the postseason.
Nothing hurts. You don't think about it. You think about making
a play. If you got hurt, hey at least you got hurt trying
something hard."

The Cardinals took control of this series beginning in Game 2 by
jumping out to early leads and letting the bullpen lead the way.

La Russa called on his relievers 28 times in the NLCS and
Jackson's start was the shortest of the postseason for the
rotation, which finished the NLCS with a 7.66 ERA. St. Louis
became the first team to win a postseason series without a
starter reaching the sixth inning, according to STATS LLC.

Freese gave his teammates credit while accepting the MVP award.

"I wish we could make eight or nine of these and give them to
our bullpen. They're the reason why we won this series," he
said.

Corey Hart, Rickie Weeks and Jonathan Lucroy all homered for the
Brewers, who won a major league-best 57 home games at Miller
Park this season and four straight in the postseason before
losing Game 2 to the Cardinals.

The Brewers' biggest hitters - Braun, Fielder and Weeks -
finished 1 for 12 in Game 6. Fielder, the All-Star game MVP and
the reason St. Louis will start at home on Wednesday, received a
standing ovation in his final at-bat in the eighth. He grounded
out and slowly walked back to the dugout with his head down.

"Obviously I envisioned us winning the World Series, but that
didn't happen," Fielder said. "We had a great year as a team.
Unfortunately we didn't get to where we wanted to go. But still
some great moments and great memories in there. Like I said,
this year has been awesome."

It was the two ugly defensive performances that will likely
linger for Milwaukee, which committed four errors in a 7-1 loss
in Game 5 and added three more in Game 6.

"You can't get away with mistakes to them and we made way too
many mistakes," manager Ron Roenicke said.

Struggling starter Shaun Marcum never really gave Milwaukee a
chance and was hurt by defensive plays that weren't ruled
errors.

In the first, Jon Jay singled with one out and stole second when
Weeks couldn't hold onto Lucroy's low throw. Marcum believed he
had strike three on Pujols, who ended up walking.

Lance Berkman singled for the second hit in 18 career at-bats
against Marcum to drive in the first run, and center fielder
Nyjer Morgan made an ill-advised throw to third that let Berkman
reach second.

Marcum saved a run by grabbing Holliday's dribbler and flipping
it out of his glove to Lucroy to get Pujols at the plate, but
Freese homered on the next pitch to make it 4-0 and extend his
postseason hitting streak to 10 games.

"We believe, Freese said. "I think that's what you've got to do
in this game. We got a group of guys with some talent, desire,
and just a ton of heart."

TOP TEN WAGERS
RK Team
1
Washington Wizards
2
Chicago Bulls
3
Houston Rockets
4
Boston Red Sox
5
Portland Trailblazers
04/20/2014
MLBBaltimore Orioles vs Boston Red Sox4:05 PM PST
NBAWashington Wizards vs Chicago Bulls4:05 PM PST
NHLTampa Bay Lightning vs Montreal Canadiens4:05 PM PST
Argentina - PrimeraBoca Juniors at CA Tigre5:30 PM PST
Colombia - Liga Postobon IIDeportivo Pasto at Fortaleza FC5:45 PM PST
NBAPortland Trailblazers vs Houston Rockets6:35 PM PST
NHLLos Angeles Kings vs San Jose Sharks7:05 PM PST
04/21/2014
Denmark Sas LigaenFC Nordsjalland at Sonderjyske04:00 AM PST
England - DivisionsWolverhampton Wanderers at Leyton Orient04:15 AM PST
England - DivisionsAldershot Town at Woking FC05:00 AM PST
Belgium - Pro LeagueStandard Liege at Club Brugge05:30 AM PST
Holland - Eerste DivisieSC Telstar at Willem II Tilburg05:30 AM PST
Holland - Eerste DivisieFC Dordrecht at FC Den Bosch05:30 AM PST
Denmark Sas LigaenViborg FF at FC Midtjylland06:00 AM PST
Sweden - AllsvenskanGefle IF at Aatvidaberg FF06:00 AM PST
Sweden - AllsvenskanIF Elfsborg at Falkenbergs FF06:00 AM PST
England - DivisionsBrentford FC at Milton Keynes Dons07:00 AM PST
England - DivisionsHuddersfield Town at Yeovil Town07:00 AM PST
England - DivisionsCharlton Athletic at Sheffield Wednesday07:00 AM PST
England - DivisionsBarnsley FC at Derby County07:00 AM PST
England - DivisionsBournemouth AFC at Ipswich Town07:00 AM PST
England - DivisionsBlackburn Rovers at Birmingham City07:00 AM PST
England - DivisionsBlackpool FC at Brighton & Hove Albion FC07:00 AM PST
England - DivisionsWigan Athletic at Burnley FC07:00 AM PST
England - DivisionsDoncaster Rovers at Millwall FC07:00 AM PST
England - DivisionsWatford FC at Queens Park Rangers07:00 AM PST
England - DivisionsChester City at Cambridge Utd FC07:00 AM PST
England - DivisionsTamworth FC at Dartford FC07:00 AM PST
England - DivisionsAlfreton Town FC at Hereford Utd07:00 AM PST
England - DivisionsNuneaton Town FC at Kidderminster Harriers07:00 AM PST
England - DivisionsForest Green Rovers at Luton Town07:00 AM PST
England - DivisionsGateshead FC at Macclesfield Town07:00 AM PST
England - DivisionsWelling Utd at Salisbury City07:00 AM PST
England - DivisionsHalifax Town at Southport FC07:00 AM PST
England - DivisionsLincoln City at Wrexham FC07:00 AM PST
Czech - 1. LigaFC Viktoria Plzen at SK Slavia Prague07:30 AM PST
Denmark Sas LigaenBrondby IF at AGF Aarhus08:00 AM PST
Russia - Fotball National LeagueFC Luch-Energiya Vladivostok at FC Mordovia Saransk08:00 AM PST
Russia - Premier LeagueFC Rostov at Volga Nizhny Novgorod08:00 AM PST
MLBBaltimore Orioles vs Boston Red Sox08:05 AM PST
Sweden - AllsvenskanOrebro SK at IF Brommapojkarna08:30 AM PST
Sweden - AllsvenskanDjurgardens IF at Malmo FF08:30 AM PST
Belgium - Pro LeagueRSC Anderlecht at KRC Genk09:00 AM PST
Croatia - 1. HNLNK Lokomotiva Zagreb at HNK Hajduk Split09:00 AM PST
England - DivisionsNottingham Forest at Leeds Utd09:15 AM PST
England - DivisionsBraintree Town at Barnet FC09:15 AM PST
Argentina - PrimeraAtletico de Rafaela at Godoy Cruz A.t.10:00 AM PST
Denmark Sas LigaenEsbjerg FB at FC Copenhagen10:00 AM PST
Israel - Premier LeagueBeitar Jerusalem at Hapoel Haifa10:00 AM PST
Portugal - Primeira LigaSporting Braga at Vitoria Setubal10:00 AM PST
Israel - Premier LeagueMaccabi Tel Aviv at Bnei Sakhnin FC10:50 AM PST
Germany - 2nd BundesligaVfL Bochum at 1 FC Cologne11:15 AM PST
France - Ligue 2RC Lens at LB Chateauroux11:30 AM PST
England - Premier LeagueWest Bromwich Albion at Manchester City12:00 PM PST
Portugal - Primeira LigaRio Ave FC at FC Porto12:00 PM PST
Argentina - PrimeraCA All Boys at Gimnasia y Esgrima12:10 PM PST
Spain - La LigaVillarreal CF at Malaga CF1:00 PM PST
Chile - PrimeraCobresal at Santiago Wanderers4:00 PM PST
Paraguay - Primera DivisionDeportivo Capiata at Cerro Porteno4:00 PM PST
Uruguay - Primera DivisionCA Penarol at CA Fenix4:00 PM PST
MLBCincinnati Reds vs Pittsburgh Pirates4:05 PM PST
MLBKansas City Royals vs Cleveland Indians4:05 PM PST
MLBChicago White Sox vs Detroit Tigers4:05 PM PST
MLBLos Angeles Angels vs Washington Nationals4:05 PM PST
NHLPittsburgh Penguins vs Columbus Blue Jackets4:05 PM PST
NHLColorado Avalanche vs Minnesota Wild4:05 PM PST
MLBMiami Marlins vs Atlanta Braves4:10 PM PST
MLBSt. Louis Cardinals vs New York Mets4:10 PM PST
Argentina - Primera BCA Independiente at Crucero del Norte4:30 PM PST
NBAMemphis Grizzlies vs Oklahoma City Thunder5:00 PM PST
MLBArizona Diamondbacks vs Chicago Cubs5:05 PM PST
MLBSan Diego Padres vs Milwaukee Brewers5:10 PM PST
NHLSt. Louis Blues vs Chicago Blackhawks5:35 PM PST
MLBSan Francisco Giants vs Colorado Rockies5:40 PM PST
NHLAnaheim Ducks vs Dallas Stars6:35 PM PST
MLBTexas Rangers vs Oakland Athletics7:05 PM PST
MLBPhiladelphia Phillies vs Los Angeles Dodgers7:10 PM PST
MLBHouston Astros vs Seattle Mariners7:10 PM PST
NBAGolden State Warriors vs Los Angeles Clippers7:35 PM PST
04/22/2014
Argentina - MinorCA Chacarita Juniors at Nueva Chicago11:05 AM PST
Argentina - MinorComunicaciones at Defensores de Belgrano11:30 AM PST
UEFA Champions LeagueChelsea FC at Atletico Madrid11:45 AM PST
England - DivisionsMiddlesbrough FC at Reading FC12:00 PM PST
England - DivisionsLeicester City at Bolton Wanderers12:00 PM PST
NBAAtlanta Hawks vs Indiana Pacers4:00 PM PST
NBABrooklyn Nets vs Toronto Raptors4:35 PM PST
Argentina - MinorClub Atletico Atlanta at Deportivo Moron5:05 PM PST
Intl Clubs - Copa LibertadoresLeon at Bolivar La Paz5:15 PM PST
Brazil - Serie BBragantino SP at Avai SC5:50 PM PST
NBAWashington Wizards vs Chicago Bulls6:35 PM PST
04/23/2014
France - Ligue 1Evian TG FC at Paris St Germain09:30 AM PST
France - Ligue 1Olympique Lyon at Toulouse FC09:30 AM PST
Argentina - MinorClub Atletico Fenix at CA Platense11:30 AM PST
UEFA Champions LeagueBayern Munich at Real Madrid11:45 AM PST
Intl Clubs - Copa LibertadoresVelez Sarsfield at Nacional FC3:45 PM PST
USA - MLSHouston Dynamo at NY Red Bulls4:30 PM PST
Intl Clubs - CONCACAF - Champions LeagueCruz Azul at Deportivo Toluca5:00 PM PST
Intl Clubs - Copa LibertadoresAtletico Mineiro MG at Atletico Nacional Medellin6:00 PM PST
Intl Clubs - Copa LibertadoresGremio RS at CA San Lorenzo6:00 PM PST
Costa Rica - Primera DivisionUruguay de Coronado at CD Belen Siglo Xxi7:00 PM PST
Costa Rica - Primera DivisionLimon FC at FC Puntarenas7:00 PM PST
Costa Rica - Primera DivisionAD Carmelita at CS Herediano7:00 PM PST
Costa Rica - Primera DivisionPerez Zeledon at Liga Deportiva Alajuelense7:00 PM PST
Costa Rica - Primera DivisionDeportivo Saprissa at CS Cartagines7:00 PM PST
Intl Clubs - Copa LibertadoresAtletico Lanus at Santos Laguna8:10 PM PST
04/24/2014
UEFA Europa LeagueValencia CF at Sevilla FC12:05 PM PST
UEFA Europa LeagueJuventus Turin at Benfica Lisbon12:05 PM PST
Intl Clubs - Copa LibertadoresUnion Espanola at Arsenal de Sarandi5:15 PM PST
04/25/2014
Russia - Premier LeagueFC Amkar Perm at FC Kryliya Sovetov Samara08:00 AM PST
France - Ligue 2LB Chateauroux at Istres FC11:00 AM PST
France - Ligue 2Clermont Foot at Stade Brest11:00 AM PST
France - Ligue 2AC Havre at US Creteil11:00 AM PST
France - Ligue 2AS Nancy at RC Lens11:00 AM PST
France - Ligue 2Chamois Niort FC at Stade Lavallois MFC11:00 AM PST
France - Ligue 2Troyes AC at Tours FC11:00 AM PST
Czech - 1. LigaFK Teplice at FC Viktoria Plzen11:15 AM PST
France - Ligue 1Olympique Marseille at FC Nantes11:30 AM PST
Germany - BundesligaVfB Stuttgart at Hannover 9611:30 AM PST
England - DivisionsYeovil Town at Brighton & Hove Albion FC11:45 AM PST
Italy - Serie AAC Milan at AS Roma11:45 AM PST
Scotland - PremierFC St Mirren at Partick Thistle11:45 AM PST
Spain - La LigaLevante UD at Elche CF12:00 PM PST
Brazil - Serie BSampaio Correa MA at Icasa CE3:30 PM PST
Brazil - Serie BJoinville SC at Parana Clube PR5:00 PM PST
Mexico - PrimeraCF Pachuca at Gallos Blancos5:30 PM PST
Mexico - PrimeraLeon at Club Tijuana7:30 PM PST
04/26/2014
BOXINGJ Molina vs L MATTHYSSE6:30 PM PST
BOXINGJ Diaz vs K Thurman7:15 PM PST
05/03/2014
BOXINGM Maidana vs F Mayweather Jr8:00 PM PST
TONIGHT'S NBA WINNING ACTION!
Access Tonight's featured Premium Pick "guaranteed" to win! Simply put your email in the box below or text/call 702-979-4410

Featured pick:

WIZARDS VS. BULLS 7:05 PM ET


* WINNER, WINNER, WINNER *

Here's result from our 2014 Premium Picks.

January (+16.9 Units): $1,690.00
February (+6.6 Units): $660.00
March (+22.9 Units): $2,290.00
Total: (46.4 Units): $4,640.00

Don't miss out on Tonight's pick. Enter your email address in the box below or text/call now: 702-979-4410

EMAIL: