MLB Insiders - Busch Stadium Implosion

One of the main reasons the Cardinals have won five of their first eight postseason games this season is that their pitching staff generally has stopped the opponents with men in scoring position.

The San Diego Padres, who lost to the Cardinals in four games in the Division Series, had only two hits in 32 at-bats with men in scoring position and one of them didn't even score a run. And, entering Sunday night's fourth game of the National League Championship Series, the New York Mets had had only two hits in 17 at-bats with men in scoring position, and one of those was a three-run homer by Carlos Delgado.

The Mets failed in two more early opportunities Sunday, running their drought to 2-for-19 before they broke through for four key hits in the fifth and sixth innings in a 12-5 New York victory that evened the NLCS at 2-2.

Two of the hits were a three-run homer and a two-run double by Delgado, who has nine RBIs for the series.

"We just didn't make good pitches to him and a bunch of the other guys," said Cardinals manager Tony La Russa.

Even with the bullpen's implosion Sunday, the Cardinals' staff still has held the opposition to eight hits in 60 total at-bats (.133) with runners in scoring position in the postseason.

REPLAY: Rookie Anthony Reyes gave up only two runs in four innings of Game 4 of the NLCS, but he was set back by too many long counts and had to come out of the game after 86 pitches.

The Cardinals' bullpen, which then took over the game, had allowed only one run in 20 2/3 innings but was roughed up for 10 runs -- nine in the fifth and sixth innings -- as the Mets rolled to a 12-5 victory Sunday night, evening the series at two games apiece.


--Counting the postseason, the Cardinals are 24-36 in games started by left-handed pitchers although they got five runs off New York LHP Oliver Perez in 5 2/3 innings.

--SS David Eckstein, CF Jim Edmonds and C Yadier Molina each hit his first homer of the series. Molina is 6 for 13 (.462) after batting only .216 during the regular season.

--RHP Josh Hancock, in two outings, has given up six runs in only 1/3 inning, including five without retiring a hitter Sunday night.

--RHP Jeff Weaver, who has given up only two runs in 10 2/3 innings over two postseason starts, will oppose Mets LHP Tom Glavine on Monday night, weather permitting. Both will be pitching on three days' rest, but Glavine is 40 and Weaver 30. The weather forecast calls for heavy rain.

--RHP Braden Looper, in effect, took one for the club on Sunday, working the last three innings. He didn't work that long in the regular season.

--The Cardinals held the Mets scoreless for 14 innings in the series before RHP Anthony Reyes gave up solo homers to CF Carlos Beltran and 3B David Wright in the third inning Sunday.

BY THE NUMBERS: 0 -- Number of runs given up by the Cardinals' bullpen in the postseason before the fifth inning Sunday.

9 -- Number of runs given up by the Cardinals' bullpen in the fifth and sixth innings Sunday.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "They are kicking themselves and beating themselves up in the clubhouse." -- Manager Tony La Russa on the state of mind of relievers Brad Thompson and Josh Hancock after their Game 4 meltdown.

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