Ryan Braun's first-inning single was his 22nd career postseason hit, tying Paul Molitor and Robin Yount for the Brewers' franchise record. It also extended Braun's postseason-record streak of reaching base safely in the first inning to nine straight playoff games.
Though Jaime Garcia gave up six runs in four innings against Milwaukee in Game 2, the run he conceded on Friday was a bit of a rarity. Corey Hart's RBI single in the fifth marked the Brewers' first earned run against Garcia at Busch Stadium since June 6, 2010. It snapped a 30 2/3-inning streak that spanned five home starts for the left-hander.
Milwaukee starter Zack Greinke snapped a streak of his own in the bottom half of the fifth inning. With two outs, Matt Holliday swung and missed at a 92-mph fastball, marking Greinke's first swinging strike of the night. It came on the right-hander's 68th pitch of the night, and it was one of just two swings-and-misses on Greinke's 95 total pitches.
Greinke recorded no strikeouts for just the second time in his 200 career starts (including the postseason). The only other time he failed to tally at least one strikeout was June 28 of this season, when he lasted just two innings against the Yankees.
Even though half of it came after Garcia was out of the game, the Cardinals gave their starter the run support he is accustomed to receiving in 2011. The Brewers did not do the same for Greinke. During the regular season, Greinke received an average of 7.50 runs per game (third in the National League) and Garcia received 7.49 (fourth in the NL). Milwaukee had scored a combined 18 runs for Greinke over his first two postseason starts.
The Brewers did have one bright spot offensively, though, as they finally came through with a two-out RBI. Entering Game 5, Milwaukee was the only team without a two-out RBI in either LCS, and the Brewers were actually hitless (0-for-19) with runners on base. After going hitless in their first two such at-bats Friday, they notched back-to-back two-out base hits with runners on in the fifth, including Hart's run-scoring single.
One area that continues to haunt the Brewers is their pinch-hitting. Nyjer Morgan grounded into an inning-ending double play in the seventh, Taylor Green popped out in the ninth and Craig Counsell popped out to end the game. Milwaukee pinch-hitters have yet to record an RBI in the postseason and are hitting just .059 (1-for-17) overall. In the NLCS, Brewers pinch-hitters are 0-for-10, while their pitchers are 2-for-8.
With Cardinals starters failing to pitch into the sixth inning of any game in this series, the bullpen has nearly caught the starters in innings pitched. Through five games, St. Louis starters have a 6.04 ERA over 22 1/3 innings, while its bullpen has a 2.07 ERA through 21 2/3 innings of work.
The Cards have won each of their past 16 games immediately preceding travel days. The last time St. Louis dropped a contest before catching a flight to its next destination was Aug. 3 in Milwaukee.
The last three teams to hit the road with a 3-2 series lead in the NL Championship Series have gone on to win the series, including the 2006 Cardinals. Five years ago, St. Louis dropped Game 6 against the Mets at Shea Stadium, but bounced back to close out the series in Game 7. Teams that go on the road with a 3-2 series lead are 26-17 in best-of-seven series all-time.
Of the previous 52 best-of-seven series that were tied 2-2, the team that won Game 5 went on to win 36 of them. In LCS play, teams that win Game 5 of a previously tied series are 10-3.
Paul Casella is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.