MLB Insiders - NLCS Moves To St. Louis

Manager Tony La Russa made a controversial decision to sit down struggling third baseman Scott Rolen on Friday night for Game 2 of the National League Championship Series.

Rolen said he was unhappy to find about it by reading the lineup card, and La Russa said he didn't think it would be necessary or productive to discuss it with his Gold Glover.

It all came out in the wash, though, as Rolen's replacement, Scott Spiezio, tripled home two tying runs in the seventh and then doubled home a run in the three-run ninth as the Cardinals rallied to even the series with a 9-6 win over the New York Mets.

The ninth started with So Taguchi hitting a solo homer off New York closer Billy Wagner. Taguchi has batted twice this postseason and has homered twice, matching his production for 316 regular-season at-bats.

The Cardinals' bullpen finally was scored on when right-hander Josh Hancock allowed a run in the sixth, but five Cardinals relievers shut down the Mets with just that one run over the last four innings.

Through 17 1/3 postseason innings, the bullpen has given up only one run.

REPLAY: Chris Carpenter wasn't himself as he gave up five runs in five innings Friday night to the New York Mets. But Carpenter still is unbeaten (4-0) in six postseason starts -- three each in the last three years -- because the Cardinals rallied for a 9-6 win over the New York Mets.

So Taguchi, who had just been put into the game, hit a homer to break a 6-6 tie, and then Scott Spiezio doubled in a run and scored the third run in the inning.


--Counting his service with the 2002 world champion Anaheim Angels, 3B Scott Spiezio has 22 runs batted in for 20 postseason games.

--C Yadier Molina, a .216 hitter in the regular season, is 4-for-6 in two postseason games after a 3-for-5 night Friday.

--Rookie RHP Josh Kinney made his first NLCS appearance a memorable one when he got Mets CF Carlos Beltran to ground into a double play to end the eighth inning. He had done the same thing to San Diego's Mike Piazza in a key spot in the Division Series.

--SS David Eckstein is just 2-for-22 in the postseason.

--1B Albert Pujols ended a three-game postseason hitless string by singling and doubling in the rallies in the seventh and ninth.

BY THE NUMBERS: 2 -- OF So Taguchi's home run total this year ... in 316 at-bats.

2 -- OF So Taguchi's home run total in the postseason thus far ... in two at-bats.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "He's a little guy, but he's got a lot of power." -- 3B Scott Spiezio, on OF So Taguchi.

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