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10/14/06 1:08 AM ET

Cardinals Short Hops: Game 2

Redbirds rally in ninth, head home with NLCS tied at 1-1

NEW YORK -- Fielding the Cardinals' Game 2 win over the Mets on a short hop ...

In < 25 words ...
The Cardinals tied the series at one game apiece thanks to a three-run ninth inning and won, 9-6.

Frozen moment
With the score tied at 6-6 in the ninth, So Taguchi had a nine-pitch at-bat against Mets closer Billy Wagner. On the ninth pitch, Taguchi hit the ball over the left-field wall to give the Cardinals a 7-6 lead. Taguchi, who is 2-for-2 in the 2006 postseason with two homers, hit only two long balls in 316 at-bats in the regular season.

Big number
1: The Cardinals have had only one runner on base this series when Pujols has come to the plate.

Game ball
Scott Spiezio -- Five balls: Trailing, 6-4, in the top of the seventh, Spiezio hit a two-run triple off Mets reliever Guillermo Mota to even the score. Spiezio drove in his third run of the game in the ninth with a double off Wagner. Spiezio started Game 2 because of a shoulder injury to Scott Rolen.

Sense of October
The Cardinals need the top of their lineup to step up if they want to win this series. David Eckstein, the platoon of Chris Duncan and Preston Wilson, and Pujols are a combined 4-for-24 in the NLCS.

"Wow. We have seen him turn on a fastball before, but that is a big situation right there. The whole dugout erupted. It really lifts you up any time you get to a team's closer, and it makes you believe you have a better chance at him next time."
-- Wilson, on Taguchi's game-winning homer

Lines of the Game
Yadier Molina
4 AB, 0 R, 3 H, 0 HR, 0 2B, 2 RBIs
Comment: A .219 hitter during the regular season, Molina has been the Cardinals' most consistent hitter in the NLCS, going 4-for-5. In the second inning of Game 2, Molina helped get the Cards back in the game with a two-run double, cutting the deficit to 3-2.

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Chris Carpenter
5 IP, 5 R, 6 H, 4 BB, 1 K
Comment: He struggled throughout the game, never retiring the side in order in his five innings and giving up two home runs to Carlos Delgado. The second homer occurred in the fifth inning on a pitch that was high and outside. Delgado used only his arms to send the ball over the left-field wall.

Next step
The Cardinals have home-field advantage as they return to Busch Stadium on Saturday night. Right-hander Jeff Suppan takes the mound for St. Louis. He is 3-1 with a 2.27 ERA during his career against New York. The last time he faced the Mets was on May 16 at Busch Stadium, when he gave up four runs in 6 2/3 innings in an 8-3 Cards loss.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.