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Cardinals eliminate Diamondbacks

ST. LOUIS

-- After getting past Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling, the St. Louis Cardinals quickly finished off the defending World Series champions.

Miguel Cairo, starting in place of injured Scott Rolen, drove in two runs and scored twice as the Cardinals beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 6-3 Saturday night to complete a three-game sweep in the NL division series.

Playing an inspired postseason following the deaths of pitcher Darryl Kile and broadcaster Jack Buck, the Cardinals advanced to the NL championship series for the second time in three years. And they did it by defeating the team that chased them in a tense, Game 5 of the opening round last season.

Cairo went 3-for-3 and pitcher Andy Benes squeezed home the go-ahead run for St. Louis. Albert Pujols drove in a run and saved a run with his second outfield assist to highlight this victory.

Pujols saved a 4-3 lead in the fifth when he threw out Chris Donnels at the plate from left field on Steve Finley's two-out hit.

Manager Tony La Russa started Pujols in left field instead of third base in place of Rolen to allow him to concentrate more on hitting.

Cairo had an RBI single in the second off Miguel Batista, who took the loss.

Game 3

Arizona 020010000--340

St. Louis01120002x--690

MBatista, Swindell (4), Helling (5), MMyers (7), BKim (8) and Barajas; AnBenes, Fassero (5), RiWhite (7), Kline (8), Isringhausen (9) and Matheny. W--Fassero 2-0. L--MBatista 0-1. Sv--Isringhausen (2). HRs--Arizona, Dellucci (1), Barajas (1).