Cardinals clobber Brewers to level NLCS

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(Reuters) - The St. Louis Cardinals clobbered the Milwaukee Brewers 12-3 on Monday to level their best-of-seven National League Championship Series at 1-1.

Three-times league MVP Albert Pujols led the hit parade in Milwaukee, going 4-for-5 with a home run and three doubles, as the Cards shook off the sting of a 9-6 defeat in Sunday's NLCS opener.

Pujols drove in five of the first six St. Louis runs before the Cardinals put the outcome beyond doubt with four runs in the seventh inning. The Cardinals had 17 hits in all.

Power-hitting Pujols began the pounding in the first inning with a two-run homer off Brewers starter Shaun Marcum, who was tagged with the loss.

St. Louis doubled their lead in the third when Pujols ripped a two-run double to center that scored pitcher Edwin Jackson and Jon Jay for a 4-0 advantage.

Second baseman Nick Punto interrupted the Pujols monopoly by knocking in a run with a single in the fourth, but Pujols got back to work in the fifth after Milwaukee's Rickie Weeks had blasted a two-run homer that made it 5-2.

Pujols followed a double by Jay with an RBI-double to deep right and later made a decisive dash to the plate on a pitch that got behind Milwaukee catcher Jonathan Lucroy and slid in safely to make it 7-2 and restore the five-run lead.

The Cardinals put the game out of reach with their four-run burst in the seventh that included another double from Pujols.

St. Louis reliever Lance Lynn, whose sole pitch of the game resulted in a double play with the bases loaded and one out in the fifth, was credited with the win.

The series shifts to St. Louis on Wednesday with Yovani Gallardo expected to start for the Brewers against Chris Carpenter.

(Reporting by Larry Fine, Edited by Peter Rutherford)