Albert Pujols hit a home run in the first inning on Monday, setting the tone for a crazy night in which the Cardinals outslugged the Brewers, 12-3, to pull even at one game apiece in the NLCS. The Cards combined for 17 hits on the night, including four by Pujols, who also drove in five runs.
While Pujols was putting on his hitting clinic, Baseball Nation's writers were live-blogging the action. Here are the highlights of their in-game analysis:
That's right, Nick Punto. The same Nick Punto who is 1-for-7 this postseason (Ryan Theriot, who he is replacing, is 6-for-14, though he was 0-for-4 in Game 1). Punto did have the best offensive season of his 11-year career in 2011, hitting .278/.388/.421 in 166 plate appearances. And, he's 4-for-11 lifetime with a double off tonight's Brewers starter, Shaun Marcum.
Spoiler alert: It worked. Punto hit 2-for-4 with two RBI. Then again, I'm pretty even the Cardinals' bat boy had three hits with a couple of ribbies, but still.
• Wasn't Shawn Marcum supposed to be good? Rob Neyer isn't sure if he deserves another start:
Will Ron Roenicke dare give Shaun Marcum another start?
After beating the Cubs on the 20th of September, Marcum had started 32 games, posted a 3.31 ERA and struck out roughly three times more batters than he walked.
Marcum has started three games since then.
On the 26th, he started against the Pirates and got knocked out in the fifth inning, allowing seven runs.
Last week, he started against the Diamondbacks in the Division Series and got knocked out in the fifth inning, allowing seven runs.
Tonight he started against the Cardinals in the League Championship Series and ... well, we don't know yet, exactly. We do know he's pitched four innings so far and given up five runs, leaving his Brewers in an early 5-0 hole.
• Rickie Weeks' hits a home run, cutting St. Louis' lead to 5-2.
• Albert Pujols with another RBI. Neyer notes:
Let's be honest about this, though ... Tonight it looks like Albert Pujols is better, all by himself, than the 25 guys wearing Brewers uniforms.
• Things just got plain ugly in the seventh inning, with St. Louis scoring four more runs on six hits.
• Playing for pride, Prince Fielder did this in the eighth inning:
It'd be proud of that, but it was still an 11-3 game. The Cardinals got that run back with a David Freese home run one inning later.