Thursday, October 18, 2012
Sports News

Beltran leaves with strained knee, is day-to-day

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[October 18, 2012]  ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Carlos Beltran's availability for Game 4 of the NL championship series was uncertain after the St. Louis Cardinals slugger left Wednesday's game with a strained left knee.

Subbing for Beltran in right field, Matt Carpenter hit a two-run homer in his first at-bat to help the Cardinals beat the San Francisco Giants 3-1 for a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.

Still, the prospect of losing Beltran for even a game or two is troubling for St. Louis given his postseason pedigree. Beltran leads the Cardinals with a .400 postseason batting average. He has three home runs and six RBIs in the playoffs this year and leads all players with eight extra-base hits.

It's no fluke. Beltran is a career .375 hitter in the postseason, highest among players with a minimum of 100 at-bats. He has 14 homers and 25 RBIs in 137 postseason plate appearances.

Cardinals manager Mike Matheny wasn't sure what happened to Beltran.

"As he ran down his first at-bat, something caught him in his knee," Matheny said. "He came back down into the tunnel and checked him out and he was not doing well."

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Beltran, who was not in the clubhouse after the game, appeared to move slowly down the line after grounding into a double play in the first inning. When the team took the field in the second, Carpenter was announced as Beltran's replacement.

Carpenter, in his first at-bat of the NLCS, followed Jon Jay's two-out single with a 421-foot home run against San Francisco ace Matt Cain in the third inning to put St. Louis ahead 2-1. The Cardinals added another run in the seventh.

Carpenter is 2 for 6 this postseason and 5 for 5 in his career against Cain. The homer was his first extra-base hit off the right-hander.

The 35-year-old Beltran played in 151 games this season, sitting out occasionally with aches and pains -- sometimes with his knee.

"He's had some issues on and off all season, on and off his whole career," Matheny said.

[Associated Press; By JIM SALTER]

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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