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NLCS Game 1: Six-run fifth inning keys Brewers’ 9-6 victory

David Brown
Big League Stew

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Score and situation: Down three runs, the Milwaukee Brewers erupted for a six spot in the fifth inning and pulled away to beat the St. Louis Cardinals 9-6 in Game 1 of the NLCS on Sunday night.

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Leading lads: Ryan Braun hit a two-run home run in the first and added a two-run double in the big inning, and Prince Fielder drove him in with his own two-run shot to give the Brewers the lead for good. Combined, they went 3 for 7, reached base six times and drove in six runs.

Head hangers: Jaime Garcia was given two leads against Zack Greinke, but struggled with his command, allowing six runs and six hits with three walks over four innings. Albert Pujols singled in the first, but struck out with a man at third in the fifth and hit into a double play in the seventh; the latter at-bat produced a run, but it also short-circuited a big inning.

Key play: As if the stadium weren't already loud, it shook with delight after Fielder hit his home run. The ball rebounded off his bat at 119.2 mph — the fastest of any homer this season, says ESPN — and bounced off the back wall of the Cardinals bullpen in right field.

Watch it go quickly: {YSP:MORE}

Key stat: The Cardinals allowed as many runs in the fifth as they had in the previous 34 innings against the Phillies in the NLCS (h/t: @tylerkepner).

What they'll be talking about: The decision of Cards manager Tony La Russa to stick with Garcia after the first two batters reached in the fifth, though reliever Octavio Dotel was no better. Greinke was roughed up for six runs over six innings, getting behind and making mistakes with his curveball, though he didn't seem to be too upset with his own performance.

What's next: Monday night in prime time (Game 2 of the ALCS was rescheduled for Monday afternoon), the Cardinals will send Edwin Jackson against Milwaukee's Shaun Marcum for Game 2.

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