Game 1 goes to the Metropolitans! With great pitching and even better defense, the N.Y. Mets held the St. Louis Cardinals scoreless in the NLCS opener. A two-out, two-run home run by Carlos Beltran proved to be the difference on the scoreboard, but the real difference was the stellar defense played by the New Yorkers. This is not a team noted especially for its defense, but, every Met fielder made excellent plays, holding the Cardinals to four hits and no runs.
The Mets know they need to win when Tom Glavine starts, and the defense played like they knew they needed to turn it up a notch or two. David Wright turned a nice double play, catching a line drive and tossing to second to get the Cardinal runner, who had broken for third expecting the ball to get by Wright. Later, Carlos Beltran doubled Albert Pujols off first, when the Cadinals slugger couldn't get back in time after Beltran's nice catch in center. In the ninth inning. Jose Valentin made a great pick and throw from behind second base to get the runner. But the best play was turned in by Endy Chavez, who played left field in place of the injured Cliff Floyd. Chavez made a highlight reel diving catch. The Mets played both flawlessly and spectacularly in the field tonight, turning in probably their finest defensive effort of the year.
Despite the base running blunders, the Cardinals played relatively well. The Mets bats were quieted by strong Cardinal pitching, especially from starter Jeff Weaver. In the end, New York got the key big hit from the team's superstar, Beltran. While this has the makings of a very entertaining series, for Mets fans, all signs were good, tonight. Tomorrow night, the Mets throw rookie John Maine against a Cy Young winner, Chris Carpenter. If Maine can keep his cool, without being intimidated by Pujols, Edmonds and Rolen, the Mets can hope to hold serve again. They know the importance of this game, since the Mets' starting pitchers in Games 3 and 4 are very shaky.
So far, so good, for the Metropolitans.