New York forces Game 7

October 19th, 2006  
Team Infidel

Topic: New York forces Game 7

Rookie pitcher Maine keeps St. Louis at bay as NLCS goes the limit


NEW YORK -- The sixth game of the National League Championship Series turned in the first inning, and the New York Mets never turned back as they forced a seventh game tonight at Shea Stadium.
The St. Louis Cardinals could not score in the first last night, leaving the bases loaded against rookie pitcher John Maine and Jose Reyes led off the bottom of the inning with a solo home run against Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter.
That kicked the Shea Stadium crowd of 56,334 into full throttle and it was as relentless as the Mets throughout the 4-2 victory -- even if closer Billy Wagner made it interesting, giving up two runs to the Cardinals in the ninth.
The winner of tonight's game will play the Detroit Tigers in the World Series, which is scheduled to start Saturday at Comerica Park.

"I think we have an even chance to win the game, as the Mets do," Cardinals manager La Russa said.
The Cardinals are scheduled to start Jeff Suppan tonight. Mets manager Willie Randolph said he would counter with left-hander Oliver Perez, "because I like him."
Reyes had three hits and two stolen bases, becoming the catalyst he was during the regular season.
On the defensive side, Randolph twice brought in relievers who, on their first batter, got an inning-ending double play.
Wagner gave up a single and a double to open the Cardinals' half of the ninth, followed by a two-out, two-run double to pinch-hitter So Taguchi.
"I'm glad we played it until the end because that's our style," La Russa said, adding Maine, who went 51/3 innings, seemed to grow after getting out of the first inning.
"I think he gained confidence and got better and better," La Russa said. "I think the first inning was not so important because they scored but because we didn't."
Carpenter, a former Toronto Blue Jay, allowed seven hits, no walks and two runs in six innings (76 pitches, 52 strikes) before being replaced by pinch-hitter Chris Duncan, who ended the seventh by grounding into a double play.
Maine allowed two first-inning hits and four walks (one intentional), striking out five and leaving with a 2-0 lead.
Paul Lo Duca singled in two runs in the bottom of the seventh against reliever Braden Looper to put the Mets up 4-0.
Maine said he is nervous before all his starts, but no more so last night, despite the importance of the game.
"I wasn't that nervous, I knew what I had to do," he said. "I was all right after a couple of innings."
The Cardinals got a one-out single from red-goateed Scott Spiezio and Albert Pujols followed that with a single down the left-field line. Pujols, hobbled by hamstring injury, was given credit for a single but he took second base on the throw to the infield as Spiezio went to third.
Maine then struck out Jim Edmonds, but hit Juan Encarnacion with a pitch to load the bases. Scott Rolen ended the inning with fly to right.
"I think we could have gotten to [Maine] early," Spiezio said. "We just missed on some balls. We let him off the hook."
If there was momentum from this, Reyes kept it going in the bottom of the first with a home run on a 1-1 fastball.
The Mets walked Pujols intentionally in his second at-bat of the game in the third, after David Eckstein singled and stole second. Maine retired the next two batters.
A single by Shawn Green, once Carpenter's teammate with the Blue Jays, drove home Carlos Beltran, who led off the fourth with a single and took second on David Wright's single.
Maine, who pitched 10 games at the Triple-A level this year, ended the fifth inning by striking out Pujols on a slider.
Edmonds led off the sixth with a walk, Maine then retired Encarnacion on a shallow fly to left and left to a standing ovation as submariner Chad Bradford entered the game. Bradford got Rolen to hit an inning-ending, double-play grounder.
October 19th, 2006  
And you said it wasn't even going to make six games, sir.

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