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Baseball Playoffs / National League | St. Louis vs.
New York / Notes

Hentgen Is Glad to Get a Chance to Contribute

October 16, 2000|PAUL GUTIERREZ

NEW YORK — The numbers don't bode well for the St. Louis Cardinals as they attempt to stave off elimination today in Game 5.

St. Louis starter Pat Hentgen has never defeated the Mets, going 0-4 with a 5.79 earned-run average in five appearances, including 0-3 with a 4.24 ERA at Shea Stadium. He also has yet to appear in this postseason.

Plus, Hentgen was shelled in his last two regular-season starts, giving up a combined 11 earned runs in nine innings against the Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds. His fade down the stretch was particularly puzzling because Hentgen had thrown a shutout against the Cubs before the slide began.

"Just like any other pitcher, my stuff was probably the same," Hentgen said of his late-September collapse. "I think it was location. I struggled with my location.

"The second-to-last start [at Chicago], actually I was winning 5-2 going into the sixth and gave up four in the sixth, so it wasn't bad through five. Unfortunately, they're nine-inning games, not five."

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When Met second baseman Edgardo Alfonzo doubled in the first inning, he extended his franchise record by getting a base hit in 10 consecutive postseason games, dating back to the 1999 NL championship series against Atlanta.

Also, left fielder Benny Agbayani has hit safely in all eight of the Mets' playoff games this season and rookie right fielder Timo Perez in all seven in which he has started.

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With his two errors in the crucial sixth inning, the Cardinals' Fernando Tatis tied an NL championship series record for most errors by a third baseman in an inning, equaling the two the Dodgers' Ron Cey committed in Game 1 of the 1974 series against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

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The Shea Stadium crowd cheered a Cardinal on Sunday night, gasping at and then applauding the mammoth blasts of St. Louis slugger Mark McGwire during batting practice.

McGwire, who is limited to pinch-hitting duty because of a sore right knee, sent four balls flying out of the stadium and launched another one into the upper level seats down the left-field line.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

The Series

Game 1: New York 6, St. Louis 2

Game 2: New York 6, St. Louis 5

Game 3: St. Louis 8, New York 2

Game 4: New York 10, St. Louis 6

Today: St. Louis (Hentgen 15-12) at New York (Hampton 15-10), 5:15 p.m.

Wednesday: New York at St. Louis, 1:15 p.m.*

Thursday: New York at St. Louis, 5:15 p.m.*

TV--Channel 11; *--if necessary

All times Pacific

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