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October 19 2006

The New York Mets may have gone into the season hoping to trot out a rotation of Pedro Martinez, Tom Glavine, Victor Zambrano, Steve Trachsel and Brian Bannister, but it looks like history will show they wound up sending John Maine and Oliver Perez to the hill to start the biggest games of the year.  So far, so good.  Maine was more than good enough last night, he held the Cardinals to two hits over 5 1/3 shutout innings as the Mets beat St Louis 4-2 to force a Game 7 in the NLCS tonight.

St Louis ace Chris Carpenter was good as well.  He held New York to two runs on seven hits over six innings without allowing a walk.  Jose Reyes led off the game with a solo home run that put the Mets up 1-0 and Shawn Green extended the lead to 2-0 with an RBI-single in the fourth. 

Ex-Met Braden Looper pitched the seventh for the Cards and gave up three hits, including a two-run single to Paul Lo Duca that put New York up 4-0.  The Mets kept the Cards off the board for eight innings.  Billy Wagner struggled in the top of the ninth, surrendering two runs on a So Taguchi double that made the score 4-2 with Eckstein at the plate and two down.  Eckstein grounded to second to end the game. 

Wagner has appeared in three games in the series for the Mets.  He's 0-1 with a save and a 16.88 ERA, having allowed five runs in 2 2/3 innings. 

The Mets won without getting much help from Beltran and Delgado this time.  They combined to go 1-for-8 with a single.  Reyes and Lo Duca in the one and two spots went 4-for-8 with three of the Mets four RBI.

The Cardinals bats aren't exactly lively these days.  Pujols is 7-for-20 (.350) in the series, but the guy with the next-most hits behind him is weak-hitting backstop Yadier Molina (6-for-19, .316).  Eckstein 5-for-23 (.217), Belliard 5-for-22 (.227), Edmonds 4-for-19 (.211), Encarnacion 4-for-18 (.222), Rolen 4-for-17 (.235).

Pujols has just one RBI in the series, which came on a solo home run off of Glavine in Game 5.  Scott Spiezio (4-for-16 with a double and two triples) leads the Cards with five RBI for the series.  Going back to the NLDS, Pujols has just one RBI in his last eight games.  He's 7-for-27 (.259) with a double and a home run in those eight games. 

Game 7 is tonight in New York and features Jeff Suppan and Oliver Perez.  Suppan was awesome in Game 3, giving the Cardinals eight shutout innings as they beat Steve Trachsel and the Mets 5-0.  The lefty Perez got hit hard in Game 4.  He gave up five runs on nine hits and a walk in 5 2/3 innings, but the Mets got out with a 12-5 win as they scored nine times against the St Louis pen.  Eckstein, Edmonds and Molina all homered against Perez in that start. 

In the Arizona Fall League, the Saguaros moved to 4-4 with a 6-3 win over the Grand Canyon Rafters.  Kyle Kendrick tossed three scoreless innings, allowing just one hit while striking out one.  It was his second appearance and he dropped his AFL ERA to 3.60.  Jason Jaramillo continues to hit, he was 2-for-4 with his first home run. 

If you're looking to be buried in a casket with a Phillies logo on it, look no further.  Also, please stay far away from me.

Tom Verducci wonders why the Phillies didn't go after Piniella.  I'd rather dance with what brung me.

John Russell, who did a great job at Triple-A for the Phillies this season, interviews today with the Texas Rangers.  The Rangers are looking for a manager.

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