Big League Stew

Cardinals fly home ‘happy’ after Brewers lose Miller Park mastery

David Brown
Big League Stew

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MILWAUKEE — The St. Louis Cardinals flew home happy again, taking home-field advantage with them, after routing the Milwaukee Brewers 12-3 in Game 2 of the NLCS.

The Cardinals finished the regular season with just as good of a record away from Busch Stadium as at home, but their uncanny streak of winning before boarding a team flight reached 15 games Sunday night.

As reporter B.J. Rains of Fox Sports Midwest points out, Cardinals players have gotten into the habit of telling each other "Happy flight!" after the last game of a homestand or road trip.

Dubbed a 'happy flight' by shortstop Rafael Furcal shortly after the streak began, the Cardinals haven't gotten on their team plane following a loss since August 3 when they suffered a 10-5 defeat in the final game of a three-game set in Milwaukee.

Cardinals manager and notorious curmudgeon Tony La Russa even signs off on the gimmick.

"You've got these grown men and they're like — I don't even think it's a fraternity, they're too old," La Russa said. "They're like summer campers or teenagers, or maybe preteens. They're just like kids. And it's enjoyable to listen to 'happy flight' things. Our fans were yelling when we got in the dugout, 'Have a happy flight.' It's silly, but why not?"

Even Ebenezer Scrooge comes around.

Anyway, Team Fredbird also boarded its flight for St. Louis (which takes about 53 minutes from Milwaukee, in case you're curious) with the home-field advantage the Brewers have used so well. {YSP:MORE}

The Brewers won here 57 times during the regular season, continuing the dominance from the NLDS against Arizona and in Game 1 against the Cards. But from the moment Albert Pujols stood to admire his first-inning home run Monday night, the Cardinals looked mighty comfortable at Miller Park.

Watch Albert make himself at home:

Hey, he might be able to do that in St. Louis, too. How do the Brewers change things up for their road trip to Busch?

"The thought is still, 'Take each day as they come.' Don't get upset, don't get out of our realm. Just stay with it,'" Nyjer Morgan said.

Well, being out of their "realm" is part of the problem. The Brewers went 39-42 on the road during the regular season and got outscored 18-7 in two playoff games at Arizona on Oct. 4-5. They're just not as good on the road. Unless they win at least once in St. Louis, their season will be over without getting another chance to re-establish their home dominance.

Brewers manager Ron Roenicke says he's not expecting a repeat performance of Arizona.

"I don't want to say it's the same thing that happened in the first series where we win at home and then we go on the road and we don't play well," Roenicke said. "It's a different series. Different ballpark. Different team. Our rotation is different. We've got [Yovani Gallardo] going in two days. We didn't have Yo going on the road the first series. So everything is different."

Except for the part about absolutely having to win at least once to stay alive.

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