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Yadier Molina looking for 4th trip to World Series; 1-0 games don't make for speedy play

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    St. Louis Cardinals' Yadier Molina grounds into a double play with the bases loaded during the first inning of Game 5 of the National League baseball championship series against the Los Angeles Dodgers Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Morry Gash) (The Associated Press)

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    Los Angeles Dodgers' Adrian Gonzalez scores from second past St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina on a hit by Juan Uribe during the second inning of Game 5 of the National League baseball championship series Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Morry Gash) (The Associated Press)

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    Detroit Tigers' Prince Fielder waits to take batting practice before Game 4 of the American League baseball championship series against the against the Boston Red Sox, Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum) (The Associated Press)

At least one of the three Molina brothers has played in a World Series in six of the previous 11 years. The St. Louis Cardinals need one more victory to get Yadier to the Fall Classic for the fourth time.

"Obviously, we wanted to win it today, but it didn't happen," Molina said Wednesday after going 0 for 4 with two strikeouts and a pair of inning-ending double-play grounders in the Cardinals' 6-4 loss in Game 5 to the Dodgers. "Right now I'm frustrated. I mean, I had the chance to help my team win in the first inning and I didn't come through. But that's part of baseball. Some days you're going to have bad games."

The five-time All-Star helped the Cardinals win pennants in 2004, 2006 and 2011 — the last two resulting in World Series titles.

Brothers Bengie and Jose were Angels teammates in 2002 when the Halos captured the franchise's only championship. Jose got another Series ring in 2009 with the Yankees, and Bengie got his second one in 2010 from the Giants after they traded him to Texas midway through that season and then won the World Series title.

Yadier Molina led the Cardinals in batting for the third straight season with a .319 average, and established career bests with 161 hits and 80 RBIs despite missing 14 games with a sprained right knee. He also batted .373 with runners in scoring position.

Defensively, the five-time Gold Glove winner threw out 19 of 45 baserunners for a major league-leading 57.8 success rate, while helping the pitching staff craft a 3.43 team ERA despite injuries to longtime ace Chris Carpenter and closer Jason Motte.

"In my opinion, not only is Yadi the MVP of that team, but the league," said Los Angeles Dodgers utilityman Skip Schumaker, a teammate of Molina's for eight seasons in St. Louis.

"What Yadi means to them defensively — commanding the game, shutting down the running game almost completely," Schumaker added. "He's one of the smartest baseball people I've been around. He makes the team that much better and makes those young pitchers so good because they know they can trust him and not have to shake him off at any point. That is a really good thing to have, confidence-wise, when you're a young pitcher."

The only time all of the Molina brothers were in the postseason the same year was 2004 and '05. Yadier and the Cardinals won it all in '04. Bengie and Jose got as far as the ALCS the following year.

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SHORT ON RUNS, LONG ON TIME: The Boston Red Sox and Detroit Tigers have had a pair of 1-0 games in the AL championship series. The pitching duels, though, haven't helped the pace of play.

"These games, they're like a movie, if it's a good movie you don't mind staying a little longer," Detroit manager Jim Leyland said. "If it's a bad movie, you don't mind leaving early."

Leyland has liked one of the closely contested games. The other, not so much.

Boston beat Detroit 1-0 on Tuesday night and the game lasted longer than 3 hours — not counting the 17-minute interruption because of a power outage. The Tigers opened the ALCS with a 1-0 win against the Red Sox that almost took 4 hours to finish.

Boston manager John Farrell has a theory why the games have taken so long.

"The number of strikeouts, you're going to look at longer at-bats," Farrell said. "There's no early contact, there's no early outs."

The Tigers and Red Sox have combined for 23 strikeouts in each of the 1-0 games. Boston struck out 17 times in the series opener, and Detroit six times. The Tigers struck out 12 times in Game 3 while the Red Sox swung and missed or watched a third strike 11 times.

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LASTING IMPRINT: A lot of the St. Louis Cardinals' success this postseason can be attributed to Houston Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow.

Before moving into the Astros' front office in late 2011, Luhnow was the Cardinals' vice president of scouting and player development. Sixteen of the 25 players on the Cardinals' NL championship series roster were acquired during Luhnow's tenure, with 14 playing through the first four games against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Luhnow scored best during the drafts of 2007 and 2009, when 10 current Cardinals players were picked by his staff. The 2007 class included current infielders Daniel Descalso and Pete Kozma, and pitcher Kevin Siegrist.

In 2009, the Cardinals selected pitchers Trevor Rosenthal and Joe Kelly, as well as infielders Matt Adams and Matt Carpenter.

Other notable acquisitions by Luhnow were pitchers Carlos Martinez (2010) and Seth Maness (2011), and outfielders Jon Jay and Shane Robinson. Robinson had a pinch-hit home run in Tuesday's 4-2 win.

"They have some very talented kids over there in Martinez and Siegrist, and guys that none of us have really faced too much in big spots," Dodgers outfielder Skip Schumaker said. "They're throwing 100 miles an hour with decent off-speeds. They're here for a reason. It's because those young arms are very talented."

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BIG KID BITES: Tigers first baseman Prince Fielder was just a kid when his dad, Cecil, was playing in Detroit during the 1990s. And, he was big kid as former Tigers second baseman Lou Whitaker recalled before throwing out the ceremonial first pitch Wednesday night.

"He loved to eat," Whitaker said. "He always had a hot dog here, a soda here and a popcorn there."

The 5-foot-11 Prince Fielder is listed as weighing 275 pounds.