Cards Forced To Play A Game Seven

The odds were in the Cardinals favor to clinch the National League Championship Wednesday night. The Redbirds were sending a Cy Young Award winner and staff ace in the form of Chris Carpenter to the mound to face rookie right-hander John Maine from New York, when it was over, the Cardinals were forced into a Game 7, against all odds.

The 2006 NLCS becomes the third series in the past four years to go 7 games. Since 1985 the home team is 5-2 in NLCS Game 7's with four of those games ending in a shutout and the odds shift to the favor of the Mets.

The Cardinals will be trying to reverse that trend by sending starter Jeff Suppan, who won Game 3 with eight scoreless innings, to the mound for Game 7, Thursday night in New York.

Wednesday, the rookie Maine out pitched reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Chris Carpenter,allowing two hits in the first and none after that, pitching 5 1-3 shutout innings, striking out five and walking four.

Carpenter meanwhile gave up two runs and seven hits in six innings, dropping to 0-1 in his last two starts.

Carpenter allowed five runs in 5.0 innings of the Cards 9-6 NLCS Game 2 win at NY, with most of the damage inflicted by Carlos Delgado's two home runs that included a three-run blast in the 1st inning. The staff ace earned the win in both Game 1 & Game 4 of NLDS against the Padres, allowing just three runs in his 13.1 innings pitched, but hasn't looked as sharp in the NLCS.

The Mets got off to an early lead in the first inning off the solo homer by Jose Reyes, who hit a 395 shot to right field to give the Mets the lead.

It was Reyes first postseason home run and it was the first leadoff home run in post season play since Johnny Damon with Boston in the 2004 World Series vs. St. Louis in Game 4.

The Cardinals held scoreless until the 9th inning, down 4-0, were 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position and they have been held to just 9-for-46 with RISP during this series.

St. Louis heads into Game 7 on Thursday night with another favorable pitching match up: 12-game winner Jeff Suppan against the erratic left arm of Oliver Perez, but the offense of St. Louis cannot afford to take another night off if the Cardinals hope to advance to the World Series.

Cardinal fans who had to wait until the last weekend of the regular season for the (83-78)Cards to clinch the National League Central Division crown, will have to wait another day to see if their Redbirds will play in another World Series.

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