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ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Nobody's better than the St. Louis Cardinals when they can't afford to lose.
Adam Wainwright went all the way on the mound and St. Louis got two-run homers from David Freese and Matt Adams to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 6-1 Wednesday night, advancing to the NL championship series for the third straight season.
Wainwright scattered eight hits in his second dominant win of the division series, coming through for the Cardinals in a winner-take-all Game 5. St. Louis gets to stay at home to open the NLCS against the well-rested Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday night.
"I wanted it bad. It's probably the most nervous I've ever been," Wainwright said. "I don't get a whole lot of nerves when I pitch. Before I pitched today, I was pretty nervous."
By ending Pittsburgh's storybook season, the Cardinals improved to 8-1 when facing postseason elimination the past three years. They also won Game 5 of the NL division series in Washington last year - even though Wainwright got rocked - and at Philadelphia in 2011.
Freese homered in the second inning off rookie Gerrit Cole, and Adams connected in the eighth against reliever Mark Melancon to make it 5-1. Pete Kozma added an RBI infield single, and Wainwright finished it off by striking out Pedro Alvarez with two on.
"I'm just so fired up for this team and this city right now," Wainwright said. "Cardinal fans were rockin' today and I'm just fired up to be here."
Alvarez became the first player with an RBI in his first six postseason games on a fluke hit that caromed off first base in the seventh. But the Pirates, who ended a record streak of 20 consecutive losing seasons this year, were held to one run in each of the final two games of their first playoff appearance since 1992.
Despite their charming turnaround and a victory over Cincinnati in the NL wild-card game, the Pirates haven't won a postseason series since the 1979 World Series.
The 23-year-old Cole beat the Cardinals with an impressive effort in Game 2. They got to him early this time even though his fastball hit 100 mph in the first inning against Matt Holliday.
Freese made the kid pay for a full-count walk to Jon Jay with two outs in the second, lining a 1-2 pitch into the visitors' bullpen in left.
The Pirates had the bullpen up in the fourth after Yadier Molina's infield hit and a throwing error put runners on second and third. Cole gave up just three hits over five innings, but was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the sixth.
Freese struggled this season to overcome a back injury in spring training and had nine homers and 60 RBIs. But just like teammate Carlos Beltran, he's an October star with seven homers, 29 RBIs and a .325 average in 36 career postseason games.
Adams' power hitting helped the Cardinals overcame a mid-foot sprain to cleanup man Allen Craig in early September and he hammered a first-pitch fastball from Melancon well over the right-field wall for his first RBIs of the series.
The Pirates scratched out their lone run on two infield hits and the single by Alvarez that looked to be a harmless inning-ending groundout before it hit the bag.
Freese was a hometown hero in 2011, both the NLCS and World Series MVP. He singlehandedly got the Cardinals to Game 7 of that World Series with a two-run triple with two outs and two strikes in the ninth and then ended Game 6 with a leadoff homer in the 11th.
"He's a stud. He's a big-time player at big-time moments," Wainwright said. "And that's what we expect of him and that's what he continues to deliver."
The snapshot moment from the title run came when Freese joyously flung his helmet between the legs a few steps from the celebration waiting at the plate.
At 23 years, 31 days, Cole was the youngest NL pitcher to start Game 5 of a division series and the fifth-youngest NL pitcher to start a winner-take-all postseason game, according to STATS.
Counting the postseason, Cole didn't allow a homer in six straight starts. That ended when Freese connected for a 2-0 lead in the second.
Starling Marte robbed Matt Carpenter of a hit with a diving catch near the left-field line in the third.
Neil Walker drew a one-out walk in the first off Wainwright, who issued just 35 walks in the regular season for third-best in the majors and none in Game 1, but went no farther. Carpenter was perfectly positioned at second base to snare a soft liner by Alvarez, flipping to first for an easy double play.
NOTES: Lou Brock, clad in a red sport coat worn by all the Cardinals' Hall of Famers, bounced the ceremonial first pitch, with pitcher Joe Kelly making a nice scoop. ... Josh Young, in town for the musical Evita, sang the national anthem. ... This was the 24th meeting between the teams this season, with each team winning 12 times.
On Wednesday, the St. Louis Board of Alderman had good news for Northside Regeneration Project developer Paul McKee and the city's unemployed.
A committee of alderman approved one amendment to the $390 million tax increment financing package. The amendment forces the NorthSide project to comply with the First Source Jobs Policy, which mandates that any unemployed city residents get priority for entry-level positions. A $250,000 fund will be established to help with home repair for resident and $1 million will be set aside for neighborhood planning in other parts of north city.
The bill now moves to the full Board of Alderman and could get final approval as soon next week. McKee says he will use TIF funds to complete some street and sewer work and would break ground this year.
St. Louis City Water and Street crews are being credited for their fast work after a water main break in downtown.
The pipe burst in the early afternoon. Water crews were forced to dig out a large hole in the middle of Clark Street in front of the police headquarters. Work was initially planned to carry into the night, causing traffic problems as fans head downtown for the Cardinals and Blues games.
Instead, crews repaired the main and placed steel plates over the hole so they could reopen the road. Work to fill in the hole will happen at a later time.
ST. LOUIS (AP) - An attorney for condemned killer Allen Nicklasson is asking the Missouri Supreme Court for a stay of execution, citing concerns about Missouri's planned use of the anesthetic propofol for the first time as a lethal injection drug.
Attorney Jennifer Herndon filed the motion on Wednesday. It wasn't clear when the court would issue a ruling.
The Missouri Department of Corrections has expressed confidence in propofol as an execution drug, but Herndon raised concerns that it could cause Nicklasson to suffer.
Nicklasson was convicted of the 1994 killing of Excelsior Springs businessman Richard Drummond, who stopped to help when a car used by Nicklasson and two others broke down on Interstate 70. Another man in the car, Dennis Skillicorn, was executed in 2009.
The discovery of a video camera in a storage unit has led to an investigation by police in St. Peters.
Kyle Pressy, a youth soccer referee, is accused of taping a teenager changing clothes through peepholes drilled into the restrooms at Woodland Park in St. Peters.
Police say they found the holes in the bathrooms at the main concession stand. Prosecutors tell KMOV they are still investigating, and that the evidence fits the crime of misdemeanor invasion of privacy. An employee of the St. Charles County Soccer Association found the video camera on Saturday and turned it over to police. On the video was a 16-year-old boy undressing in the bathroom. Prosecutors say Pressy shot the video and then turned the camera on himself, showing his own face.
The investigation continues with searches of Pressy’s home and computers planned.
The Gateway Arch has landed on a list of Most Endangered Monuments.
The Arch is one of five American monuments on the list complied by the World Monuments Fund, an organization dedicated to saving historic landmarks. According to a spokesman for the group, the Arch is at risk because of corrosion, current economic trends, and decreased government funding for national monuments.
The World Monuments Fund was established in 1965. 85 percent of money donated to the fund goes directly to preservation projects.
UNION, Mo. (AP) - The trial is under way for an eastern Missouri publisher of an anti-government newsletter facing multiple charges for a 2012 confrontation with state troopers.
The Washington Missourian reports that 47-year-old Jeffrey Weinhaus of Franklin County is charged with interfering with a judicial official, felony possession of a controlled substance, resisting arrest and assault of law enforcement officers.
Weinhaus was critically injured in a confrontation near St. Clair in September 2011 when he was shot by a state trooper after allegedly reaching for a handgun.
Jurors on Tuesday saw a video of Weinhaus saying he had a right to "go in there and blast" officials he felt were corrupt.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri lawmakers have blocked a proposed rule that could have expanded the use of ethanol in gasoline.
A legislative panel voted Wednesday to halt a rule change that would have allowed regular gasoline to be sold with a 15 percent blend of ethanol, which generally is made from corn.
Committee members said the proposal by the Department of Agriculture went beyond what is allowed in state law. They cited a 2006 Missouri law that requires a 10 percent blend of ethanol in gasoline. The proposed rule would not have mandated E15 but would have allowed it.
The committee's vote is like a temporary moratorium. The full Legislature can decide whether to permanently block the rule when it convenes in January. Or the department could withdraw the proposed rule change.
Most of the Missouri Department of Corrections' supply of propofol is headed back to the Louisiana supplier. Supplier Morris and Dickson requested the drugs be returned a year ago and the state says they are complying with the request.
The state's plan to use the anesthetic for executions has come under fire of late. The vast majority of the drug is manufactured in Germany and the European Union is considering export controls if it is used in an execution.
It is unclear what effect the return will have on planned executions--the first scheduled for October 23. The Post-Dispatch reports that the state still has some propofol in stock.
ST. LOUIS (AP) - A St. Louis-based nonprofit hospital system is cutting jobs. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch (http://bit.ly/19zhw51 ) reports that SSM Health Care is making the announcement this week to employees. Spokeswoman Kristen Johnson says that out of respect for affected workers, details won't be made public until later this week. Some health care organizations, including BJC HealthCare in St. Louis, have cut staffs in part due to reduced government reimbursements from Medicare and Medicaid services. Johnson declined to say why SSM's layoffs were necessary. SSM has 18 hospitals, two nursing homes and more than 150 outpatient sites and operates in Missouri, Illinois, Oklahoma and Wisconsin.