Originally written on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 10/15/11

Human beings are creatures of habit, apparently so is Tony LaRussa and the 2011 St. Louis Cardinals. I mean, there is definitely a recurring theme going on in the 2011 NLCS. The combination of jumping out to an early lead, getting 5 innings (or less) from the starting pitcher and shut down relief work once again added up to another Cardinals win on Friday night in taking game five of the best of seven series 7-1 over the Milwaukee Brewers. With the win,St. Louis is now one win away from a trip to the World Series.

The Cardinal offense, which had been relatively quiet in games 3 and 4, showed signs of life on Friday against Milwaukee’s Zack Greinke. They jumped out to a 4-0 lead after just four innings. Overall, Cardinals hitters’ collected 10 hits, five walks, took advantage of four errors and scored in four innings of the eight innings they batted. They also went 10 for 35 (.298) as a team in the game.

Hitting stars Matt Holliday, who was 3 for 5 including a double and 2 RBI’s, and Yadier Molina, who was 3 for 4, also doubled while missing a homerun by inches and recorded an RBI.

Southpaw starter Jaime Garcia cruised through the first four innings before getting into trouble in the fifth. Manager Tony La Russa, who in my mind is quickly becoming “Captain Hook”, moved quickly to get his young starter out of the game after just 4 2/3’s innings. TheSt. Louis bullpen, which was a glaring weakness for most of the season, then did what it does best and that’s shut down opposing offenses for the remaining 4 1/3’s innings.

Octavio Dotel, Lance Lynn, Marc Rzepczynski and Jason Motte combined for the aforementioned 4 1/3 innings while surrendering no runs on just one hit.

“We feel comfortable,” said Octavio Dotel, “We feel that we can do the job. We feel that we’ve got enough talent to get through and try to get those guys out of balance. You’ve got to understand, they’ve got an unbelievably tough lineup.Milwaukee, they’ve got a tough lineup. And we’re looking forward to having a little bit better luck than them.”

I don’t know about you, but this is getting very interesting. In my estimation the Cardinals have far exceeded prior week’s expectations as their nothing short of miracle season continues on Sunday when the series moves back to Milwaukee (at 4:05 pm EST) and the Cardinals will send Edwin Jackson to the mound against Shaun Marcum in Game 6, with staff ace Chris Carpenter pointing for (an if necessary) Game 7.

Fireballer Jason Motte has been an intricate part of the 2011 Cardinals' success

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