Archive for Friday, October 13, 2006

By R.B. Fallstrom

October 13, 2006

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— Jeff Weaver did his part. The rest of the Cardinals let him down, and Carlos Beltran did him in.

Weaver sparkled through five shutout innings before Beltran hit a two-run homer off him in the sixth, and the right-hander didn't get much help from the St. Louis bats as the New York Mets jumped in front of the NLCS with a 2-0 victory in Game 1 on Thursday night.

"If you would have said we would have given up two runs as a pitching staff, I would have liked our chances," Weaver said. "We just weren't able to capitalize in certain situations, and they did.

"One pitch, more times than not, it's not going to determine the outcome of the game."

Weaver pitched five shutout innings to get his first postseason win in Game 2 of the first round against the Padres. Manager Tony La Russa left him in to start the sixth against the Mets and paid for it when Beltran took him deep.

"No way to suggest that he's a losing pitcher," La Russa said. "Jeff was outstanding. We hit too many balls in the air. I mean, it's tough to win when you do that."

The Mets neutralized Albert Pujols, who was hitless with a walk and had little chance to make an impact. Pujols, who had a pair of game-winning hits in the first two games of the postseason, is 0-for-10 since then with four strikeouts.

Pujols was on deck in the eighth when Guillermo Mota struck out Preston Wilson after falling behind 3-0 in the count with a runner on first. Pujols also ran into a double play in the fourth when he failed to pick up the ball on Juan Encarnacion's pop fly to medium center.

"It's nothing, nothing," Pujols said. "So why can I be frustrated. What, I can't make a mistake? Am I perfect?"

Tom Glavine neutralized everybody, in fact. The 40-year-old Mets left-hander went seven innings, giving up only three singles and only two at-bats with runners in scoring position. He got help, too, when third baseman David Wright turned David Eckstein's liner into an inning-ending double play in the third and left fielder Endy Chavez made a diving catch with a man on in the fifth.

"It was a great game all the way around," Weaver said. "Just a few too many lineouts on our part, and not enough breaks."

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