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Cardinals Short Hops: Game 1

Cardinals Short Hops: Game 1

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NEW YORK -- Fielding the Cardinals' Game 1 loss to the Mets on a short hop ...

In < 25 words ...
The Cardinals find themselves behind the 8-ball because of the spectacular pitching from Mets left-hander Tom Glavine, who pitched seven shutout innings.

Frozen moment
Albert Pujols, the reigning National League MVP, rarely makes a mistake, but he blundered in the third inning. With one out and Pujols at first base, Juan Encarnacion hit a lazy fly ball to Mets center fielder Carlos Beltran, who caught the ball and easily doubled up Pujols at first. The hit-and-run was not on, and Pujols was too far from first base to get back in time.

Big number
The Cardinals continue to have problems against Beltran, who has five home runs in the postseason against the Cardinals, four of them coming in the 2004 NLCS when he was a member of the Astros.

Game ball
Jeff Weaver -- Four balls: An unlikely starter for Game 1, Weaver had another solid outing in the 2006 postseason. He just had problems containing Beltran, who hit a two-run home run to win the game.

Sense of October
The Cardinals are aware they are overwhelming underdogs, but in Game 1, at least, they played tough against the Mets. One bad inning in the bottom of the sixth did them in.

Spoken
"If you had said we were going to give up two runs as a pitching staff, I would have liked our chances. We just were not able to capitalize in certain situations and [the Mets] did with a little two-out hit by [Paul] Lo Duca. He kept the inning going and Beltran caught up to a fastball. I felt good out there. It's just one of those games where it ended up on their side."
--Weaver

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Lines of the Game
Hitting
Yadier Molina
1 AB, 0 R, 1 H, 0 HR, 0 2B, 0 RBIs
Comment: Molina was the only Cardinals hitter to reach base twice in Game 1. He singled to right field against Glavine in the third inning and walked two innings later.

Pitching
Jeff Weaver
5 2/3 IP, 2R, H, 0 BB, 4 Ks
Comment: His great pitching in San Diego carried over into Shea Stadium. Had 10 shutout innings entering the sixth inning of Game 1. But Beltran spoiled the party by hitting a two-out, two-run home run. Weaver had a tough time pitching inside to Beltran in that inning.

Next step
Down 0-1 in the NLCS, the Cardinals feel they have a shot to even the series with ace Chris Carpenter on the mound on Friday night at Shea Stadium. During his career, Carpenter has given up eight runs in 17 innings against the Mets. One guy Carpenter has had no problems with is left fielder Endy Chavez, who is 0-for-11 against the right-hander.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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