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NLCS Game 2: Pujols strikes back with big night, Cards even series

David Brown
Big League Stew

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Score and situation: Powered by mighty slugger Albert Pujols, the St. Louis Cardinals rebounded from a disappointing opener and pummeled the Milwaukee Brewers 12-3 on Monday night to even the NLCS at one game apiece.

Leading lads: Pujols had one of the greatest games of his career, going 4 for 5 with a home run and three doubles — tying a major league record for most extra-base hits in a playoff game. Via @ESPNStatsandInfo, Pujols is the first player in major league history to have two games with at least three extra-base hits in the same postseason. Oh, he also drove in five runs.

Watch Albert say hello: {YSP:MORE}

Head hangers: Including the division series round, Brewers right-hander Shaun Marcum has allowed at least five earned runs in five of his past six starts. Reliever Kameron Loe allowed four runs and six hits, needing only 13 pitches to do it. First-base umpire Sam Holbrook appeared to miss two calls at the bag — most notably a double play on Rickie Weeks in the fifth inning.

Key play: After Jon Jay crossed up the Brewers with a bunt single in the first, Pujols crushed a two-run homer to left field to give Team Fredbird a lead it would not relinquish. Pujols stood briefly to admire his homer, and flipped his bat to announce his awesomeness.

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Key stat: The Cardinals, who probably have the best lineup still playing in the tournament, pounded out 17 hits.

What they'll be talking about: Albert being phat. And the Brewers losing home-field advantage. They won a league-high 57 times during the regular season at Miller Park and won all three home games in the NLDS against the Diamondbacks. Now, they'll need to win a game on the road, or there'll be no more home games.

What's next: Milwaukee hits the road for three games at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. In Game 3 on Wednesday, right-hander Yovani Gallardo opposes the guy Zack Greinke loves to dislike: Chris Carpenter.

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