Cardinals Short Hops: Game 3

Cardinals Short Hops: Game 3

NEW YORK -- Fielding the Cardinals' Game 3 win over the Mets on a short hop ...

In < 25 words ...
Jeff Suppan tossed a terrific game and hit a homer, and the offense turned five walks into five runs off Steve Trachsel.

Frozen moment
With the crowd chanting, "Spie-zi-o, Spie-zi-o, Spie-zi-o," Scott Spiezio delivered another October moment, tripling down the right-field line and giving the Cardinals a 2-0 lead in the first inning.

Big number
5: The Cards took advantage of Trachsel's ineffectiveness, pounding the right-hander for five runs in one-plus inning. The early runs helped Suppan settle in and made Mets manager Willie Randolph use his bullpen for another 24 outs.

Game ball
Suppan -- Five balls: The Cardinals couldn't have asked for more from their No. 2 starter. One day after Chris Carpenter went just five innings, Suppan pounded the strike zone and baffled the Mets' lineup the entire evening, tossing 99 pitches over eight shutout innings.

Sense of October
The largest crowd in Busch Stadium III's history (47,053) was alive from the pregame introductions through the ninth inning. They delivered several ovations, including yelling "Supp" as Suppan walked off after the top of the eighth. Several fans also sported red goatees -- a nod to Spiezio's dyed red soul patch.

"His command was a throwing clinic."
-- Cards manager Tony La Russa, on Suppan's outing

Lines of the Game
Albert Pujols
3 AB, 2 R, 2 H, 2B, 2 RBIs
Comment: El Hombre is the fulcrum of the offense. When he reaches base, the Cardinals form a much better team.

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Jeff Suppan
8 IP, 0 R, 3 H, 1 BB, 4 Ks
Comment: This was arguably his best game in three seaons with the Redbirds.

Next step
With the Cards firmly in the driver's seat with a 2-1 NLCS lead, rookie Anthony Reyes makes his first postseason start on Sunday night in Game 4. A sometimes brilliant, sometimes inconsistent Oliver Perez counters for the Mets.

Conor Nicholl is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.