NEW YORK - Carlos Beltran always manages to wreak havoc on the St. Louis Cardinals.
Not in Game 7.
With the entire season on the line, all he could do was stand and watch as Adam Wainwright’s curveball ducked in for strike three, leaving the bases loaded in the ninth-inning.
The moment that final pitch landed in Yadier Molina’s glove for the final out, the Cards were on their way to the World Series and the New York Mets were heading home.
“It’s tough,” Beltran said after the Mets’ 3-1 loss to St. Louis in Game 7 of the NL championship series Thursday night. “I left everything I had out there. I would have loved to get the hit. Sometimes you have to live with good memories in this game, in baseball. Sometimes you have to live with bad memories. Today was bad.”
Following singles by Jose Valentin and Endy Chavez that started the ninth, Cliff Floyd pinch hit and took a called third strike. Jose Reyes lined to center, a ball that at first appeared to have a chance to drop in but stayed up for Jim Edmonds to catch.
Now Beltran was at the plate, New York’s $119 million All-Star.
He took a strike, then fouled off a pitch.
“Watching his at-bats the rest of the series, he seems to get more patient looking for his pitch when he gets behind 0-2,” Wainwright said. “Beltran’s such a patient hitter, I knew he was going to be looking for his pitch. I didn’t want to waste one.”
“I was trying to put the ball in play, and I just couldn’t do anything with it,” he said.
Already, he was looking ahead to 2007. Next year, if the Mets fall short, their fans might not be so forgiving.
The nation grieved for those hurt, killed and affected by the Boston Marathon bombings. After one of the suspects was caught on Friday — following a day-long lockdown and manhunt — sports returned to Boston over the weekend.
“We don’t feel bad. We felt like we left everything we had out there,” Beltran said. “It’s a disappointment every time you lose. But we feel good and we learned from this. And I do believe that next year we’re going to be better than what we are this year.”
Posnanski: Albert Pujols' at-bats used to be buzzworthy, must-watch events. Now, they're not. Here's the result of his struggles the past few years.
Taking a look at some of the greatest catchers off all time.