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ST. LOUIS — He is the Mr. October of the Midwest.

The name is David Freese.

And no one takes over the postseason and sends teams packing for the winter like this dude.

BOX SCORE: Cardinals 6, Pirates 1

WATCH: Cardinals, Pirates trade diving plays

Freese, the hero of the St. Louis Cardinals' 2011 World Series championship, made sure Wednesday that he'd have a shot at an encore.

Freese's two-run homer ended the Pittsburgh Pirates' endearing playoff run and led the Cardinals to a 6-1 victory that advanced them to a date with the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Championship Series that begins Friday.

The Cardinals, who turn October into their own backyard playground, won the NL Division Series 3-2 in front of a frenzied sellout crowd of 47,231 at Busch Stadium.

The Cardinals are 8-1 in deciding games since 2011, leaving the Philadelphia Phillies, Texas Rangers, Atlanta Braves, Washington Nationals and now the Pirates in their wake.

And no one has been more responsible the last three years for wreaking the havoc than Freese.

Freese, who provided ace Adam Wainwright with all of the support he'd need with a two-run homer in the second inning, is Reggie Jackson in red. He has seven homers and 29 RBI in 36 postseason games since 2011, the most by any player.

"It's a great feeling," said Freese. "It was a frustrating year in a lot ways for me but it feels really great to win this series, contribute, and get back to the LCS."

CARDINALS: Wainwright proves to be Pirates' nemesis

You want clutch? The dude is is hitting .360 with 12 RBI in seven elimination games.

In the three deciding games at Busch Stadium, he is 4-for-10 with two home runs, one double, one triple and seven RBI.

Freese has three home runs in games when the Cardinals face elimination.

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Yes, this is his time. This is his stage. This is his month.

"That's what we expect of him," Wainwright said of Freese. "That's what he continues to deliver."

Wainwright made sure Freese's heroics would stand.

Wainwright, merely a spectator during the Cardinals' run in 2011 while recuperating from Tommy John elbow surgery, is making up for lost time.

He stifled the Pirates all evening.

Pitching a complete game, Wainwright paralyzed the Pirates with his nasty curveball. He won the first and final games of the series, giving up 11 hits, one walk and two runs in 16 innings.

"I've got to put it right up there with the most fun and greatest moments of my career," said Wainwright. "I'm just incredibly blessed to be here and start that game.

"To pitch a game like that, it's definitely one of the highlights of my baseball life. This is why I signed back here, there's no amount of money that means how much this city and this team mean to me."

GAME 5: Cardinals benefit from close call

Oh, and if Wainwright actually needed any help, the Cardinals put on a magnificent fielding display, with shortstop Pete Kozma impersonating Ozzie Smith with two dazzling plays. Yet, just to prove he's human, Kozma committed a mental blunder in the seventh inning that nearly turned disastrous when he bypassed a simple flip to second base for a forceout, enabling the Pirates to string together three infield hits and a run.

Otherwise, they were flawless.

Would you expect anything less?

It's October.

It belongs to the Cardinals, who are in the NLCS for the third consecutive year and eighth time since 2000, this time to face the Dodgers.

It will be the first time the teams have met in the NLCS since 1985, resurrecting memories of Smith and Jack Clark homering off Dodgers reliever Tom Niedenfuer.

This time, they'll be facing a Dodgers team that's explosive, well-rested and features the lethal 1-2 pitching duo of likely Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke.

The Cardinals won't have Wainwright available until Game 3. Yet, that's a concern for another day.

The Cardinals had a party to host.

Again.

And for the Pirates, who got their first postseason party pass in 21 years, they might be returning a whole lot more frequently — if their NL Central rivals ever cede an inch.

"We were able to take a huge step forward in restoring the pride and passion of the Pirates organization, and rebonding our city with a ball team," manager Clint Hurdle said. "This club here, the St. Louis Cardinals organization, have gotten used to this. The sustainability is what separates great organizations."

For now, it's the Cardinals' time.

"It's not just my time," Freese said. "It's all of our time."

Welcome to October.

It's the Cardinals.

Follow Nightengale on Twitter @BNightengale

GALLERY: PIRATES-CARDINALS SERIES

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