On a 3-2 pitch, La Russa put on a hit-and-run.
Pujols hit a ground ball to third base that almost certainly would have been an inning-ending double play. But that option was closed because Wilson was on the move, and it extended the inning for Ronnie Belliard's two-run single three batters later.
"Albert strikes out maybe 50 times a year. If you want to start a runner with anybody on base, start with Albert," La Russa said later. "He'll put the ball in play 90 out of 100 times."
Back even at 2-2, it was a whole new ballgame.
Give it to the kid
The Cardinals took a 3-2 lead on Juan Encarnacion's RBI triple off Padres starter Woody Williams in the bottom of the sixth. Williams was at the 82-pitch mark.
Bochy called for right-handed reliever Cla Meredith, a rookie who led NL relievers during the regular season with a 1.39 ERA and a .170 opponents' batting average.
Meredith and the Padres struggled. By the time the inning was over, the Cardinals had scored four runs on three hits, a walk, a hit batsman, an error by third baseman Russell Branyan and a perfect David Eckstein squeeze bunt. Meredith conceded he may have been too strike-happy in the inning.
Rolen out, Spiezio in
After batting .227 in September and 1-for-11 in the series, Cards third baseman Scott Rolen admitted to La Russa that his surgically repaired left shoulder was "sore fatigued."
La Russa benched Rolen and went with utility man Scott Spiezio.
Spiezio went untested at third base and delivered a key hit that kept the team's big sixth-inning rally going. After a popout and a groundout in his previous at-bats, Spiezio hit an RBI single off Meredith, and St. Louis was on its way to a third consecutive appearance in the NLCS.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.