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MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Jaime Garcia put the Brewers and St. Louis' sweep of Milwaukee under wraps.

He pitched eight innings and Allen Craig drove in four runs to lead the St. Louis Cardinals to a 10-1 win over Milwaukee and the franchise's first four-game sweep of the Brewers.

"Early in the season, late in the season, it doesn't matter when you get a series win like this one," Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina said. "Everything went good this weekend. We pitched good and really hit the ball well."

Matt Holliday also homered for the Cardinals, who have won six straight, their most since taking eight in a row from July 11-21, 2010. It was the first time the Cardinals have four in a row from the Brewers, who moved to the NL and have been in the Cardinals' division since the 1998 season.

Garcia (4-1), who won his third straight game, gave up one run on eight hits. He had three strikeouts and only one walk.

"I felt really good out there," he said. "I was able to keep the ball down and keep our team in the game."

Marco Estrada (2-2) lasted 3 1-3 innings for the Brewers, who have lost five in a row. He gave up eight runs on six hits and had a career high six walks.

The Cardinals scored six runs in the second inning to take control of the game on three hits as St. Louis sent 10 men to the plate. Estrada was wild and loaded the bases with two walks and single.

Shane Robinson and Holliday forced in runs with walks before Craig lined a double to the left field corner to drive in three runs. Yadier Molina's RBI single scored Craig.

Garcia lobbied Cardinals manager Mike Matheny to be allowed to pitch the ninth, but Carlos Martinez finished off the eight-hitter for Milwaukee.

"He pitched a great game," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. ""Everything really came together for us this weekend. We had great pitching, good hitting and strong defense."

Marco Estrada (2-2) lasted 3 1-3 innings for the Brewers, who have lost five in a row. He gave up eight runs on six hits and had a career high six walks in what he said may have been the worst outing of his big league career.

"I had no idea where the ball was going," he said. "I made a lot of pitches in the second inning. I couldn't find it after that. It was one of those outings where I had no clue what I was doing out there."

NOTES: Gomez's fifth inning double extended his hitting streak to 12 games, which tied a career high.Cardinals manager Mike Matheny gave both OF Carlos Beltran and 2B Matt Carpenter the day off..Both teams wore uniforms from the 1913 season for Sunday's game.RHP Wily Peralta (2-2) will start for the Brewers Tuesday against Texas Rangers' RHP Justin Grimm. RHP Lance Lynn (5-0) will starts for the Cardinals Tuesday against the Chicago Cubs's RHP Travis Wood (2-2).

© 2013 THE ASSOCIATED PRESS. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. THIS MATERIAL MAY NOT BE PUBLISHED, BROADCAST, REWRITTEN OR REDISTRIBUTED. Learn more about our PRIVACY POLICY and TERMS OF USE.
Monday, 06 May 2013 06:54
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LOS ANGELES (AP) -- From the opening minutes to St. Louis' final flurries, Jonathan Quick played every puck with the desperate determination necessary to win the Stanley Cup.

Even when the crease-crashing Blues knocked his mask off his head, the Kings' gritty goalie kept his focus on a win that got Los Angeles back into a tense first-round series dominated by defense.

Quick made 30 saves in his fifth career playoff shutout, leading the Kings to a 1-0 victory Saturday night and trimming the Blues' series lead to 2-1.

Slava Voynov scored in the second period for the defending NHL champions, who got a brilliant performance from their Conn Smythe Trophy-winning goalie.

After making self-described mistakes that led to both of the Blues' winning goals in St. Louis, Quick won his duel with Brian Elliott, who stopped 20 shots.

"It's what you expect when these two teams play each other," Quick said. "They were just throwing pucks from everywhere, but we handled it well and cleaned up most of the rebounds."

Los Angeles will attempt to even the series in Game 4 on Monday night.

After struggling on the power play and getting bad luck on a handful of chances, St. Louis even resorted to more unconventional means to mess with Quick.

David Perron appeared to dive into Quick in the crease in the third period, with Quick's mask coming off his head in an exchange that ended with the Blues getting a power play, thanks to Drew Doughty's overreaction.

None of it could throw Quick off the formidable game that carried the Kings to the Cup last season.

"Quickie had to be really good for us tonight, but the way he played is no surprise to anybody," Kings captain Dustin Brown said.

The Blues' power play hasn't scored in 12 straight opportunities since early in the series opener, and they wasted plenty of good chances against Quick in Game 3. Elliott has allowed just three goals in the series, but Quick kept the Kings unbeaten at home since March 23.

"You're not going to get very many games like this where you get this many quality chances on the road," St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock said. "We were unlucky, more than anything."

Staples Center was packed with black-clad, towel-waving fans who fondly remember the Kings' nearly surreal run through last spring's playoffs.

Eighth-seeded Los Angeles went 16-4 in the postseason, beating the Western Conference's top three seeds and taking a 3-0 lead in every series - an NHL first - on the way to its first Stanley Cup title.

The Kings never faced an elimination game or even a tight spot last spring, but the fourth-seeded Blues immediately put them in a jam in this series with consecutive victories at home.

Quick sought the blame for both losses after allowing the overtime winner in the opener and a last-minute goal in Game 2, but his teammates realized they deserved the blame for their meager offensive effort against Elliott, who got outplayed by Quick in last year's playoff series.

"It's the time to stay even-keeled, because these games are all going to be close," Elliott said. "Every play gets amped up, and you've got to take care of details."

The scoreless, tight-checking first period of Game 3 reflected the nervousness in the arena. After Los Angeles killed off a penalty early in the second, Voynov capitalized on a lengthy scramble in front of Elliott's net, putting a shot through traffic into the far corner for the Russian defenseman's first playoff goal since last season's second-round series opener against St. Louis.

The Blues largely dominated puck possession and good scoring chances for long stretches of the final two periods. Alexander Steen, who scored both of the Blues' goals in Game 1, inexplicably couldn't put it into a fairly open net on a power play late in the period, shanking his shot.

During Perron's shenanigans in the third, Doughty followed Perron into the net and slugged the Blues forward several times, drawing a double minor for roughing and putting St. Louis on a fruitless power play. Perron and Quick have jawed throughout the series, and Perron claimed the Blues were "starting to get to" Los Angeles' star goalie after Game 2.

Elliott kept the Blues in it with less than 7 minutes left, stopping Dwight King on a clean breakaway. Justin Williams then saved the Kings with about 5 minutes left, diving to knock away a loose puck on the edge of the crease.

"When it gets late in the game like that, you're trying everything you can to stop the puck," Williams said. "The story for us was Jonathan Quick, though. That's the difference for us."

St. Louis was swept out of the second round in four games last spring by Los Angeles, which outscored the Blues 15-6 while ending their breakthrough season under Jack Adams Trophy-winning coach Ken Hitchcock.

The Blues turned in another strong regular season this winter, even surging past Los Angeles and San Jose into the fourth playoff seed in the final days.

The Kings went 19-4-1 at home this season, posting the best points percentage at home in franchise history. They finished the regular season with seven straight wins at Staples Center.

NOTES: The Kings scratched C Jordan Nolan and dressed D Alec Martinez, who hadn't played since April 2. Martinez, who picked up an assist on Voynov's goal, was a key member of last season's defensive group, but fell out of favor in March after his return from an upper-body injury. Los Angeles dressed seven defensemen. ... St. Louis used the same lineup from its first two victories. ... The Kings have rallied from a 0-2 series deficit just once in franchise history, beating Detroit in 2001.

© 2013 THE ASSOCIATED PRESS. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. THIS MATERIAL MAY NOT BE PUBLISHED, BROADCAST, REWRITTEN OR REDISTRIBUTED. Learn more about our PRIVACY POLICY and TERMS OF USE.
Monday, 06 May 2013 06:52
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   MILWAUKEE (AP) - Jake Westbrook allowed one run over six innings for his 100th career win and the St. Louis Cardinals held off the Milwaukee Brewers 6-5 on Thursday night.

   Westbrook (2-1), came in with a 0.98 ERA, best in the majors - it increased to 1.10. In his 12th season, he walked three and struck out four. The Brewers were 1 for 8 with runners in scoring position against him.

   Westbrook allowed Norichika Aoki's double to open the game and then nothing more until one out in the fourth when the Brewers pushed across a run on three consecutive singles. He struck out Alex Gonzalez and then fanned Wily Peralta (2-2), his third strikeout of the inning.

   Westbrook left with a 6-1 lead for the relievers to protect, but the Brewers scored twice in the seventh, one in the eighth and one in the ninth.

 
Thursday, 02 May 2013 23:50
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   ST. LOUIS (AP) - Defenseman Barret Jackman scored his first career playoff goal with 50.4 seconds remaining, lifting the St. Louis Blues to a 2-1 win over the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings for the second straight time Thursday night.

   Jackman, a stay-at-home type who totaled three goals and 12 points in the regular season, joined a rush and scored in transition against Jonathan Quick, last year's playoff MVP. He beat Quick from just inside the blue line for a 2-0 series lead heading to Los Angeles.

   The Blues capitalized on a stickhandling goof by Quick to win the opener on Alex Steen's short-handed goal in overtime.

   Patrik Berglund's deflection tied it early in the third period for St. Louis, which was swept by the Kings in the second round last season while getting outscored 15-6.

   Dustin Brown scored for the Kings, who'll try to rebound in Game 3 Saturday night.

 
Friday, 03 May 2013 00:30
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ST. LOUIS (AP) - Lance Lynn won his 10th straight decision, allowing one run and five hits in seven innings Wednesday to lead the St. Louis Cardinals over the Cincinnati Reds 4-2 Wednesday.

Lynn (5-0) struck out five and walked two, improving to 10-0 in 10 starts and one relief appearance since losing to Milwaukee on Sept. 7.

It's the second straight quick start for Lynn, who was 6-0 with a 1.48 ERA through May 7 last season, then went 12-7 with a 4.46 ERA the rest of the way

Wednesday, 01 May 2013 16:38
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   ST. LOUIS (AP) - Alex Steen stole the puck from goalie Jonathan Quick behind the net and scored a short-handed goal to give the St. Louis Blues a 2-1 victory over the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday night.

   Steen scored unassisted on a backhander at 13:26 of overtime less than a minute after Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk was whistled for a double-minor high sticking when he cut Dustin Penner.

   Steen also scored on a power play in the first period for the Blues, who ended an eight-game losing streak against the team that swept them in the second round last spring.

   Quick, last year's Conn Smythe winner as playoff MVP, made 35 saves in regulation, keeping the Kings in it for Justin Williams' tying goal with 31.6 seconds left.

 
Wednesday, 01 May 2013 01:38
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The St. Louis Cardinals announced today that they have purchased the contract of right-handed pitcher Seth Maness  from Memphis (AAA) and optioned left-handed pitcher Marc Rzepczynski to the triple-A club.

Maness, 24, was the Cardinals Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2012 and will be making his Major League debut  for tonight’s series opener against the Reds and will wear uniform # 61.

Maness was 2-2 with a 4.32 ERA in four starts at Memphis this season, striking out 18 and walking just three in 25.0 innings pitched. Maness was an 11th round selection for the Cardinals out of East Carolina University in 2011.
The 6-0, 190-pound North Carolina native has displayed impeccable control throughout his pro career, allowing just 18 total walks in 247.2 innings pitched. Maness worked six or more innings in each of his four starts at Memphis and has done so in 27 of his 38 career minor league starts.
 
Rzepczynski made nine appearances to begin the 2013 season with St. Louis, allowing seven runs in 8.0 innings of work with no decisions.
 
Monday, 29 April 2013 11:07
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 NEW YORK (AP) - NBA veteran center Jason Collins has become the first male professional athlete in the major four American sports leagues to come out as gay.Collins wrote a first-person account posted Monday on Sports Illustrated's website.

The 34-year-old Collins has played for six NBA teams in 12 seasons. He finished this past season with the Washington Wizards and is now a free agent. He says he wants to continue playing.

   

 
Monday, 29 April 2013 10:50
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ST. LOUIS (AP) -- The ball felt good coming out of Mitchell Boggs' hand. Small consolation for the St. Louis Cardinals' reliever after another miserable outing that capped a dismal day for his team.

Boggs' 12.66 ERA is what stands out most about a bullpen that's been shaky adapting to new roles without injured closer Jason Motte. Boggs lost his job as stand-in closer earlier this month and trudged off the mound yet again in the ninth inning of the Pittsburgh Pirates' 9-0 victory on Sunday.

"I made some really good pitches," Boggs said. "I don't have much to show for it."

Manager Mike Matheny still has faith in the right-hander who was one of the majors' best setup men last season.

"I'd loved to have left him in there," Matheny said. "It's one of those days that probably wasn't reflective of his stuff going in a better direction. You've just got to keep fighting."

After deconstructing an outing that included a "blooper into right, a shattered bat into left and a ball that was hit so bad you could only get one out with the base loaded," Boggs struck a note of defiance.

"I'm obviously not ecstatic about how it's going," Boggs said. "Yeah, it's hard to be positive, but at the same time you have to do everything you can to fight every single day and I'm doing that.

"If anybody can't see that, they're crazy."

Boggs allowed two hits, a walk and a run-scoring groundout by Gaby Sanchez in two-thirds of an inning and was charged with three of the Pirates' five runs in the ninth. In 10 2-3 innings overall he's given up 15 earned runs on 17 hits and 10 walks.

Nothing worked for the Cardinals, who were shut down by rookie lefty Jeff Locke and totaled just three hits while getting leapfrogged by the Pirates for the NL Central lead. They lost consecutive games for the first time this season and dropped their first series since opening the season losing two of three at Arizona.

"We had a tough time getting anything going," Matheny said. "It's not a day we were expecting."

David Freese was 0 for 3 with a strikeout on his 30th birthday, dropping his average to .178 with no homers and three RBIs. Matheny said Freese is having difficulty picking up the ball.

"I'm obviously not happy with the way I'm performing," said Freese, the 2011 World Series and NL championship series MVP. "I feel terrible up there.

"Every now and then I'll throw some good at-bats together, get my walk or hit a ball hard, but nothing's really working."

Russell Martin had two of Pittsburgh's four home runs, Garrett Jones had three hits and John McDonald added a key RBI double. The Pirates ended rookie Shelby Miller's streak of 14 scoreless innings at home to start the season and have won nine of 12 overall.

Locke (3-1) has worked 13 scoreless innings while allowing five hits his last two starts. The Cardinals got just three singles and advanced two runners into scoring position against the 25-year-old left-hander, who earned the fifth spot in the rotation with a strong spring.

Justin Wilson allowed a walk the last two innings to wrap up the Pirates' fifth shutout, tied for the league lead with St. Louis and San Francisco. All of them have been collaborations.

Miller (3-2) struggled to put away hitters and was taken out after 113 pitches and giving up two homers in 5 2-3 innings. He struck out seven, one off his season best, and was charged with three runs after John McDonald greeted Fernando Salas with a bloop RBI double.

Left fielder Matt Holliday took a circuitous route and just missed a diving catch with the ball deflecting off his left wrist, and Brandon Inge scored from first on a close play at the plate for a 3-0 lead.

Martin hit his fourth homer with a 412-foot drive to straightaway center in the second. He doubled off the right-field fence in the fourth for his fourth straight extra-base hit, two of them homers, then added a two-run shot to cap a five-run ninth.

It was the seventh career multi-homer game and first since June 10, 2012, for the Yankees against the Mets for Martin, who's hitting .409 since April 15.

Tabata lined a 2-2 pitch over the right-field wall in the fifth for his first homer, giving him a hit in 21 of 23 career games at Busch Stadium.

Jones' second homer and first in 50 at-bats since April 8 barely cleared Shane Robinson's leaping attempt the wall in the seventh to make it 4-0. First base umpire Laz Diaz initially ruled no homer, but it was quickly overturned after the Pirates appealed.

NOTES: Adam Wainwright (4-1, 1.93) goes for his fifth win in as many starts Monday in the opener of a three-game series against the Reds and Mat Latos (1-0, 2.16). ... The Pirates are 4-0 in starts by Wandy Rodriguez (2-0, 1.66) entering a three-game series at Milwaukee and Yovani Gallardo (2-1, 4.97). ... Jason Grilli is the first Pirates pitcher to earn 10 saves in April since Mike Williams also had 10 in 2002.

© 2013 THE ASSOCIATED PRESS. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. THIS MATERIAL MAY NOT BE PUBLISHED, BROADCAST, REWRITTEN OR REDISTRIBUTED. Learn more about our PRIVACY POLICY and TERMS OF USE.
Monday, 29 April 2013 06:24
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The NHL's sprint of a season is over, ending a three-plus-month run that crammed 48 games into each team's schedule.

Hockey's grueling postseason, which begins with three games Tuesday night and ends as late as June 28, has a slew of storylines spilling off the ice.

Here's a pick six to follow when the puck drops.

---

CROSBY'S COMEBACK? Pittsburgh Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby was healthy and productive for most of the season, getting 56 points in 36 games, after missing much of the last two years with concussion-like symptoms. A broken jaw, though, has kept him out since March 30 and he's waiting to be cleared by doctors to play in the postseason. Crosby's status for Game 1 at home Wednesday night against the New York Islanders is unclear, but he's expected to be back in the lineup at some point in the seven-game series. After consecutive first-round exits, the top-seeded team in the Eastern Conference is poised to make a run with a deep roster improved before the trading deadline. If Crosby can play, the Penguins might hoist the Stanley Cup for the first time since 2009.

---

CAN CHICAGO CLOSE STRONG, TOO? The Blackhawks began the season with a point in their first 24 games - half of the lockout-shortened season - to surpass an NHL record by eight games. They finished well enough to lead the league in points and are hoping that translates into postseason success, unlike the franchise's only other Presidents' Trophy season. Chicago led the NHL in points during the 1990-91 season, but got eliminated by the Minnesota North Stars in the opening round. The Blackhawks will match up with the same city - against a team now known as the Wild - in the first round. Minnesota lost 10 of its last 16 games, but free agent stars Zach Parise and Ryan Suter have an opportunity to provide a quick return on the $98 million the franchise invested in them last summer.

---

RED-HOT CAPITALS: The Washington Capitals closed the season strong, winning 11 of their last 13 games to surge from toward the bottom of the East to the top of the Southeast Division, earning the No. 3 seed to set up a first-round matchup with the New York Rangers. Alex Ovechkin was at his best down the stretch with 22 points in the last 13 games after averaging less than a point in his first 35 games. He finished with an NHL-high 32 goals, lighting the lamp more than any other player in the league for the third time. Even though Ovechkin has jaw-dropping talent, he hasn't gotten past the second round of the playoffs in the first seven seasons of his career and he's playing for a franchise that hasn't advanced further than that since getting swept by Detroit in the 1998 Stanley Cup Finals.

---

KINGS' QUEST TO REPEAT: The Los Angeles Kings became the first eighth-seeded team to win the Stanley Cup, finishing off the sixth-seeded New Jersey Devils in Game 6, and can become the first team to repeat in the salary-cap era that began in the 2005-06 season and the first since Detroit won consecutive times in 1997 and 1998. Compared to last season, when the Kings had to rally just to get in the playoffs, they cruised after clinching a spot in the West and will start the postseason on the road as a fifth-seeded team against the fourth-seeded St. Louis Blues.

---

ORIGINAL SIX STILL SKATING: For the first time since 1996, each of the NHL's Original Six teams is in the playoffs. The Toronto Maple Leafs had a lot to do with ending the drought. The storied franchise in a hockey-crazed city and country has advanced to the postseason for the first time since 2004. In the Eastern Conference, the fifth-seeded Maple Leafs will match up with fourth-seeded Boston, another Original Six team, second-seeded Montreal will face seventh-seeded Ottawa, and the sixth-seeded New York Rangers will match up with third-seeded Washington. In the West, Detroit extended its franchise record postseason streak to 22, the fifth longest in league history, and closed well enough to avoid a first-round matchup with fellow Original Six member Chicago to move into a winnable series against second-seeded Anaheim. The top-seeded Blackhawks will open against the Wild.

--

NEW YORK, NEW YORK: The New York Islanders are in the playoffs for the first time since 2007, and for just the second time in two decades they're in the postseason at the same time as the New York Rangers. Both teams will have a tough time getting out of the first round. The eighth-seeded Islanders are matched up with Pittsburgh, a powerhouse that earned 17 more points in the condensed season. The sixth-seeded Rangers will face perhaps the hottest team in the league, third-seeded Washington.

--- Follow Larry Lage on Twitter at WWW.TWITTER.COM/LARRYLAGE © 2013 THE ASSOCIATED PRESS. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. THIS MATERIAL MAY NOT BE PUBLISHED, BROADCAST, REWRITTEN OR REDISTRIBUTED. Learn more about our PRIVACY POLICY and TERMS OF USE.
Monday, 29 April 2013 06:21
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