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10/20/06 12:53 AM ET

Cardinals Short Hops: Game 7

Molina, Suppan send St. Louis to World Series

ST. LOUIS -- Fielding the Cardinals' Game 7 win over the Mets on a short hop ...

In < 25 words ...
Right-hander Jeff Suppan pitched his heart out and Yadier Molina's ninth-inning homer sent the Cards to the World Series.

Frozen moment
Molina took the first pitch and hit the ball over the left-field wall to give the Cardinals a 3-1 lead and their second pennant in three years.

Big number
3: The number of times Preston Wilson struck out in Game 7. There was a runner on base in two of those at-bats and Wilson could not advance the runner.

Game ball
Suppan -- Five balls: He was clearly the best pitcher for the Cardinals in the NLCS. After pitching eight shutout innings last Saturday, Suppan pitched the seventh and deciding game and held the Mets to only one run in seven-plus innings.

Sense of October
The Cardinals should be proud with what they did during the postseason. They were overwhelming underdogs in the NLDS and beat the Padres in four games. They were not expected to be much of a match against the Mets, but took them to a seventh game and won. It's a tribute to manager Tony La Russa for the way he has held the team together.

Lines of the Game
Albert Pujols
3 AB, 0 R, 0 H, 0 HR, 0 2B, 0 RBIs
Comment: Pujols didn't have many RBI opportunities. In fact, he had only one during the NLCS. In the fifth inning, there were two runners on base when Pujols popped up to Jose Reyes to end the inning. Pujols hit .318 in the NLCS.

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7-plus IP, 2 R, 7 H, 0 BB, 4 Ks
Comment: He showed his mettle in the bottom of the sixth inning. The Mets had the bases loaded and one out, but Suppan got out of the inning when Jose Valentin struck out and Endy Chavez flied out.

"No matter who we play against -- the Padres were good, they were leading in ERA and you have the Mets with all their weapons -- we felt we would be dangerous to play, and we were just going to play. All of a sudden, best-of-seven, the club that wins 83 can beat a club that wins 97. [The Mets were a] tough club to compete [against], but very exciting." -- La Russa

Next step
The Cardinals go to Detroit to face the Tigers in the 2006 World Series. The last time these two teams met was in the 1968 Fall Classic, with the Tigers winning in seven games.

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