In a game that filled with suspense, it was the Cardinals battery that outlasted the Mets in Game 7 of the NLCS. Jeff Suppan provided the pitching, while his battery-mate Yadier Molina provided the offense in the Redbirds 3-1 win Thursday night.
Suppan, named the series MVP, gave up just one run on two hits in seven innings. It was his second Game 7 victory; he beat Roger Clemens in the 2004 NLCS. In this series, Suppan was dominant. In two starts totaling 15 innings, Suppan held the Mets to one run on five hits. None of the two hits given up Thursday came after the first inning.
The Cardinals offense was stuck in neutral as well. Other than Ronnie Belliard’s sacrifice that scored Scott Rolen in the second, St. Louis found it hard to muster up any threats. Their best chance to score came when Rolen smacked a ball over the left field fence in the sixth, but left fielder Endy Chavez made a leaping grab to rob Rolen of a home run.
Well, what goes around comes around. Chavez, who undoubtedly made the best defensive play in the playoffs, could only stand and watch as Molina jacked a two-run homer to left field in the ninth, essentially robbing the Mets of a World Series appearance. The round-tripper gave St. Louis a 3-1 lead with only three outs to go, but without a reliable closer, no lead was safe.
Adam Wainright, who had been filling the void left by the injured Jason Isringhausen, entered the game in the ninth for the Redbirds. He looked to be in good shape with the Mets 7-8-9 hitters due up. But in good Izzy fashion, Wainright did not finish the game without a scare.
Jose Valentin and Chavez led off the inning with consecutive singles. After Cliff Floyd and Jose Reyes both got out, Paul Lo Duca drew a walk to load the bases. The man set to bat next was one the Cardinals did not want to see. Carlos Beltran walked to the plate having torched the Cardinals in the past. He already had three home runs in the series, and that was after he batted .417 and hit four dingers against the Birds in the 2004 NLCS for the Astros.
Wainright was able to start Beltran off with a strike looking. The second pitch was fouled off. St. Louis was one pitch away from their second trip to the World Series in three years. Pitch No. 3 hit Molina’s glove and the Cardinals were champions of the NL. Beltran struck out looking.
Game 1 of the World Series is Saturday in Detroit.
Related web sites:
Cardinals Official Website