Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 10/18/12
The St. Louis Cardinals began Game 4 of the National League Championship Series without one of the best players in recent postseason history. Right fielder Carlos Beltran didn't start Thursday against the San Francisco Giants due to a sore left knee. Beltran left Game 3 on Wednesday after hurting the knee while running out a double-play grounder. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, an MRI exam was negative. Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said before Thursday's game that Beltran would be available as a pinch hitter. Matt Carpenter replaced Beltran in right field Wednesday, and his two-run homer led St. Louis to a 3-1 win, giving the Cardinals a 2-1 lead in the series. Carpenter was back in the lineup Thursday, but he and Allen Craig swapped positions, with Carpenter going to first base and Craig playing right field. Beltran, 35, is a career .375 hitter in the playoffs. He has 14 homers and 25 RBI in 31 postseason games. Beltran batted .444 with two homers and four RBI in the Cardinals' five-game win over the Washington Nationals in this year's NL Division Series. He was 3-for-8 (.375) with one homer and two RBI in the NLCS through Wednesday. Carpenter, a 26-year-old rookie, spent more time as an infielder than an outfielder this year, playing first base, third base and second base in addition to right and left field. He hit .294 with six homers and 46 RBI in 114 regular-season games.
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