Though the Cardinals hit several balls hard Thursday night, veteran left-hander Tom Glavine stifled them on four hits for seven innings as the Mets again zeroed he Cardinals. This time it was Game 1 of the 2006 NLCS, and the score was 2-0.
As familiar as the shutout was, so, too, was the offensive star for the opposition. Mets center fielder Carlos Beltran, who nearly beat the Cardinals by himself in the 2004 NLCS as he cracked four homers in seven games for the Houston Astros, broke up a scoreless tie with a two-run drive off Cardinals starter Jeff Weaver in the sixth inning.
Beltran hit a fastball down the middle 430 feet, but Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said, "It was so irritating for Jeff Weaver to be the losing pitcher. He certainly was not the losing pitcher."
Left-handed batters hit .357 against Weaver during the regular season, but he held San Diego's left-handed batters to one hit for 14 at-bats in a Division Series win last week.
He held the Mets' left-handed batters to 1 for 14 Thursday night before the switch-hitting Beltran solved him for the game-winning homer.
REPLAY: The Cardinals had multiple runners on base in just two innings Thursday night. They scored neither time and lost the first game of the National League Championship Series to the New York Mets, 2-0, on Carlos Beltran's two-run homer in the sixth inning.
Both teams failed with men in scoring position. The Cardinals were nothing for two and the Mets nothing for five.
NOTES AND QUOTES
--If this series goes five games, RHP Jeff Weaver, who pitched well for 5 2/3 innings for the Cardinals on Thursday night, will come back on three days' rest on Monday.
--Because of Wednesday's rainout, RHP Chris Carpenter, who was scheduled to pitch Game 3, was moved up to Game 2 on Friday night in New York. RHP Jeff Suppan, who has pitched much better at home than on the road, will pitch Game 3 at Busch Stadium on Saturday.
--CF Jim Edmonds' single in the fifth gave him 25 career NLCS hits, one shy of 1B Albert Pujols' club high.
--1B Albert Pujols was doubled off first in a key play in the fourth inning when he misread a blooper by RF Juan Encarnacion. The ball was caught by CF Carlos Beltran, and Pujols couldn't get back to first in time.
--The Cardinals hit 11 popups or flyball outs against New York pitchers.
BY THE NUMBERS: 9 -- Counting this year, number of times the Cardinals have been in the NLCS in the last 25 years.