MILWAUKEE - Albert Pujols had one of the biggest postseason nights of his career in Game 2 of the National League championship series, going 4 for 5 with a home run, three doubles and five RBIs to lead the St. Louis Cardinals past the Milwaukee Brewers 12-3 on Monday.
Pujols belted a two-run homer in the first, a two-run double in the third and an RBI double in the fifth, then added another double in the seventh. The crowd cheered sarcastically when the Brewers finally retired him in the eighth.
"Sometimes when they come, they come in a bunch," Pujols said.
His big hits came one night after Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder bashed the Brewers to a 9-6, come-from-behind victory in Game 1.
This time, the big bats couldn't bring Milwaukee back even at Miller Park. The best home team in the majors all season, the Brewers had won all four home games in the playoffs until Monday.
The series now shifts to St. Louis, where Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter faces Brewers right-hander Yovani Gallardo in Game 3 on Wednesday.
Rickie Weeks hit a two-run homer in the fourth for Milwaukee, then was involved in a disputed play in the fifth. With the bases loaded and one out, Weeks grounded into a double play, though replays showed he was safe. Rangers 7, Tigers 3, 11 innings
At Arlington, Texas, Nelson Cruz hit the first game-ending grand slam in postseason history to lift Texas over Detroit in the American League championship series.
Cruz doubled early, then hit a tying home run in the seventh inning. His second homer of the game was a high drive to left field off Ryan Perry with nobody out in the 11th, and came after a misplay in the Detroit outfield loaded the bases.
"It was amazing," Cruz said. "First two pitches, I was too aggressive. I hit the ball foul ball, foul ball. So after that, I told myself just slow down and try to hit a fly ball to the outfield."
Cruz connected for the fourth grand slam in the playoffs this year. Ryan Roberts and Paul Goldschmidt of Arizona and Robinson Cano of the Yankees also hit them.
STATS LLC confirmed that Cruz's shot was the first slam to end a postseason game with a postscript. Robin Ventura sent a tiebreaking drive over the fence to finish a New York Mets victory against Atlanta in the 1999 NLCS, but was swarmed by teammates between first and second.
Ventura never made it around the bases and was officially credited with a single. His 15th-inning drive for a 4-3 Mets win in Game 5 came to be known as "the grand slam-single."