Cardinals fall to Mets to force Game 7
New York – The Cardinals lost to the Mets Wednesday night 4-2 in New York, which forces a game seven in their playoff series. The winner of tonight's (Thu.) game goes on to the World Series.
Mets rookie pitcher John Maine dominated St. Louis, while Jose Reyes sparked the offense with a leadoff home run for the Mets.
Maine outpitched reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Chris Carpenter, escaping a bases-loaded jam in the first and two-on trouble in the third.
Maine allowed two hits in the first and none after that, pitching 5 1/3 shutout innings, striking out five and walking four. "I knew everything was riding on it," he said.
Reyes had three hits and two stolen bases, Shawn Green boosted the lead with a fourth-inning RBI single and Paul Lo Duca let the loud crowd of 56,334 exhale with a two-run, two-out single in the seventh off ex-Met Braden Looper that made it 4-0.
That turned out to be key because Billy Wagner gave up a two-run, two-out double to So Taguchi in the ninth before retiring David Eckstein on a game-ending grounder.
Tonight, the Cardinals start Jeff Suppan, who won Game 3 with eight scoreless innings.
"This is what you dream," said Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols, who has just one RBI in the series. "This is what it's all about."
Perez, who won Game 4, was sent to the minors by Pittsburgh earlier this year and didn't even join the Mets until July 31. "Everyone is going to pitch in. Everyone is going to maintain the lead," Perez said.
Of 11 prior teams to trail 3-2 in the LCS and force a seventh game, eight won pennants the exceptions were the 1988 Mets, the 1992 Pittsburgh Pirates and 2003 Boston Red Sox. St. Louis lost its last two road seventh games by a combined 26-0.
"We'll take our chances with Game 7," the Cardinals' Jim Edmonds said. "We're ready to play."
Home teams that have won Game 6 to tie a postseason series have won 11 straight Game 7s since the 1975 Red Sox lost the World Series finale to Cincinnati.
"If I could have written the script, I wouldn't have done it like this," said the Mets' Carlos Delgado, in the first postseason of his career. "We've battled. Hopefully, we can get that win."
Eckstein walked leading off the third and stole second, but Maine struck out Scott Spiezio and, after intentionally walking Pujols, retired Edmonds on a flyout and struck out Encarnacion.
"I think early we could have gotten on him," Spiezio said. "We kind of let him off the hook there, and then he started getting more confidence and started throwing the changeup and the slider for strikes."
That left St. Louis 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position. The Cardinals didn't get another runner past first until the ninth inning.