ST. LOUIS (AP) — Carlos Beltran's availability for Game 4 of the NL championship series was uncertain after the St. Louis Cardinals slugger left Wednesday's game with a strained left knee.
Subbing for Beltran in right field, Matt Carpenter hit a two-run homer in his first at-bat to help the Cardinals beat the San Francisco Giants 3-1 for a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.
Still, the prospect of losing Beltran for even a game or two is troubling for St. Louis given his postseason pedigree. Beltran leads the Cardinals with a .400 postseason batting average. He has three home runs and six RBIs in the playoffs this year and leads all players with eight extra-base hits.
It's no fluke. Beltran is a career .375 hitter in the postseason, highest among players with a minimum of 100 at-bats. He has 14 homers and 25 RBIs in 137 postseason plate appearances.
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny wasn't sure what happened to Beltran.
"As he ran down his first at-bat, something caught him in his knee," Matheny said. "He came back down into the tunnel and checked him out and he was not doing well."