Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 10/18/12
Right fielder Carlos Beltran suffered a slight left knee strain when he stretched for the first-base bag while trying to beat the relay on a double-play grounder in the first inning Wednesday. But there was no immediate problem for the St. Louis Cardinals. Or really any problem at all. Beltran's replacement, rookie Matt Carpenter, hit a two-run homer in his first at-bat against San Francisco's Matt Cain to provide the winning margin in a 3-1 Cardinals win in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series, giving the Cardinals a 2-1 advantage in games. The game was delayed by rain for 3 hours, 28 minutes, which was 18 minutes longer than the actual game time. At the time, the hit was Carpenter's fifth in five at-bats against Cain this season. Beltran underwent an MRI, which showed no structural damage, and won't be out long. He could play Thursday in the fourth game, more probably in Game 5 and certainly by Games 6 or 7, if they are needed. Beltran, who coming into Wednesday's game had hit a homer every 7.93 plate appearances in the postseason -- best in history -- has had knee issues this season and through much of his career, but mostly with the right knee, on which he had major surgery in January 2010. Carpenter said he was surprised to get the call to come into the game. "It came out of nowhere," he said. "I didn't even know that he had hurt himself. "Mike (manager Mike Matheny) told me to grab my glove, I was going into right."
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