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10/19/06 12:19 AM ET

Cardinals Short Hops: Game 6

Quiet night by St. Louis' sticks forces decisive Game 7

NEW YORK -- Fielding the Cardinals' Game 6 loss to the Mets on a short hop ...

In < 25 words ...
Chris Carpenter pitched six quality innings, but it wasn't enough as the Cardinals were downed by the Mets, 4-2, in Game 6 of the NLCS.

Frozen moment
St. Louis' best chance to score off right-hander John Maine came in the first inning. The team had runners on second and third with one out, but Jim Edmonds struck out for the second out of the inning. After Juan Encarnacion was hit by a pitch to load the bases, Scott Rolen flied out to Shawn Green to end the inning.

Big number
0-3: The Cardinals are winless when they play on Oct. 18. They lost Game 2 of the 1987 World Series to the Twins, 8-4, and Game 5 of the 2004 NLCS to the Astros, 3-0.

Game ball
Carpenter -- Four balls: He was the antithesis of his Game 2 start, in which he gave up five runs in five innings. But a home run by Jose Reyes in the first inning and an RBI single by Green in the fourth ended up costing Carpenter the game.

Sense of October
The Cardinals didn't do much with runners in scoring position, going 0-for-5. After the third inning, St. Louis didn't have a runner in scoring position until the ninth inning, when it scored two runs.

Lines of the Game
Albert Pujols
3 AB, 0 R, 2 H, 0 HR, 0 2B, 0 RBIs
Comment: Pujols hasn't had many RBI opportunities. In fact, he has only one during the NLCS. He is hitting .350 for the NLCS.

6 IP, 2 R, 7 H, 0 BB, 4 Ks
Comment: Carlos Delgado hit two home runs against the right-hander in Game 2, but Delgado went hitless in three at-bats against Carpenter.

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"Well, one of the things I said right there real quickly is, 'Game 7 starts right now.' They are getting ready to have the experience of a lifetime, if you're in professional sports. ... It's an experience you'll never forget. It will be one of the most enjoyable things, especially if you do it right, as far as getting ready and doing the best that you can. You'll never forget it." -- Cards manager Tony La Russa, after Wednesday's loss

Next step
The NLCS goes to a decisive seventh game on Thursday. The Cardinals will try to win their second pennant in three years. Right-hander Jeff Suppan will take the mound for St. Louis. He looks to repeat his Game 3 performance, in which he threw eight shutout innings.

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