Jon Jay soaring as catalyst in Cards' attack

ST. LOUIS — Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals almost single-handedly wrecked the Milwaukee Brewers in Game 2 of the NLCS. He strung together four hits and collected five RBIs in an 12-3 rout Monday to even the best-of-seven series at a game apiece.

But a guy who contributed plenty and flew under the radar was outfielder Jon Jay. He went 3-for-4 and scored three times — all on Pujols’ hits. Jay, a left-handed hitter positioned in the No. 2 spot, supplied a bunt single, a hit-and-run single to left field and a double down the right field line.

“I want to be the guy on the line,” Jay said. “I enjoy those moments. You see guys like Albert Pujols, Matt Holliday and Lance Berkman do it. I want to be the guy everyone can count on in those situations.”

St. Louis manager Tony La Russa said, “I think is playing well and he has been consistent. He’s a very intelligent player who is talented and tough.”

Jay, 26, has been tough enough this season to emerge as the Cardinals’ starting center fielder. St. Louis thought so much of him that they traded outfielder Colby Rasmus to Toronto in a key July deal that enabled the Cards to land Edwin Jackson, Marc Rzepczynski and Octavio Dotel.

“He does a lot of good things and he’s a catalyst,” Cards outfielder Lance Berkman said of Jay.

It was Jay providing a pair of hits, two RBIs and a walk in the Game 2 comeback win against the Phillies. The Cardinals trailed 4-0 but rallied for a 5-4 victory in what could have been the turning point in the best-of-five series.

“My job is to get on base and have other guys drive me in,” Jay said. “It worked out well in Monday’s game and I hope it can continue. I try to focus on every pitch during each at-bat. It worked out well in Monday’s game, and I hope it can continue.”

Jay hit .297 with 10 home runs and 37 RBIs in 159 games during the season. He hit .300 with four homers and 27 RBIs in 105 games during his rookie 2010 season. The Miami native, a 5-foot-11, 200-pounder, was a second-round pick of the Cardinals five years ago.

“I’m still trying to establish myself and do whatever is best for the team on that day,” Jay said. “I’m working hard and trying to be consistent.”

So far, so good, he said.

“I think it’s going great,” Jay said. “But it’s one game at a time.”

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