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New York at St. Louis

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N.Y. Mets «00000325010120
St. Louis000000000021

Maine's arm, Beltran's bat power Mets' sweep of Cardinals

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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ST. LOUIS -- Although it's too late to do anything about the bitter disappointment of last fall, the New York Mets certainly put a damper on the St. Louis Cardinals' season-opening celebrations.

John Maine kept the Cardinals' bats quiet with seven innings of one-hit ball and Carlos Beltran homered twice and drove in four runs, helping the Mets sweep the World Series champions with a 10-0 victory Wednesday night.

"We can't change history, so we just came out excited about the first part of the season," manager Willie Randolph said. "It just happens that the Cardinals were the team, that's all. No extra incentive."

Jose Reyes also homered and had three RBI for the Mets, who were 8-1 to start last season en route to an NL-high 97 wins before they were eliminated by the Cardinals in the NLCS. Playing for much lower stakes but making a statement nonetheless, the Mets outscored the Cardinals 20-2.

The Mets have a six-game winning streak against the Cardinals in the regular season.

"It's always great when you start the season the way we started, winning three against the world champions," Beltran said. "Now we just need to continue to play the game we played here."

The Mets romped in 41-degree temperature at game time, a precipitous drop from the opener on Sunday night when it was 72 degrees. They started a season 3-0 for the first time since 1994, when they won three straight at Chicago.

Braden Looper's first major league start after 572 relief appearances was a bright spot for the Cardinals, who started 0-3 for the first time since 2001. The last time the Cardinals lost three straight at home to start the season was in 1969, the year after they lost a seven-game World Series to Mickey Lolich and the Detroit Tigers.

"I think if you get two runs in three games, we're better than that, and I don't care how good the pitching is," manager Tony La Russa said. "No. 1, we are better than that, and No. 2, we have to be better than that if we expect to have a season in contention.

"I think we'll fix it, sooner rather than later."

The Cardinals were 1-for-15 with runners in scoring position in the series and the lone hit, a single by Preston Wilson in the opener, did not produce a run because Beltran's strong throw from center field caught David Eckstein trying to score from second.

Wilson committed a two-base error when he missed pinch-hitter Julio Franco's fly to right in the Mets' five-run eighth, the Cardinals' third outfield miscue in the series.

Maine, who capped his rookie season by beating the Cardinals in Game 6 of the NLCS, retired the first 12 batters. Scott Rolen singled softly to left and Jim Edmonds walked to open the fifth before Maine recovered to retire nine of the last 10.

"It's a good start, but it's behind me," Maine said. "I guess it was good while it lasted, but it's over with."

Maine struck out six, fanning Chris Duncan and Wilson twice each. Edmonds drew a second walk with two outs in the seventh.

"It was nice to see Johnny pounding the zone," Randolph said. "He was real focused, something I've challenged him with."

Looper, who saved 57 games for the Mets in 2004 and '05, didn't allow a runner in scoring position until the sixth when Beltran hit a two-run homer just inside the right-field foul pole. Shawn Green added an RBI single for a 3-0 lead.

Beltran thought Looper tired as the game progressed, but Looper disagreed. He said the 0-2 fastball to Beltran that he left over the plate was his only real mistake.

"I gave up some hits, but they were groundballs or what have you," Looper said. "I felt great the whole game.

"That one pitch, I just wish I could have back."

Reyes and Beltran homered in a span of three at-bats against Josh Hancock in the seventh for a 5-0 cushion. It was the 18th multihomer game for Beltran, and fifth in the last two years.

Notes

  • Looper's run of consecutive relief appearances before starting is the third-longest in major league history behind Todd Jones (632) and Chuck McElroy (603).
  • Beltran has three homers and nine RBI in 22 at-bats at new Busch Stadium, which opened last year.
  • Three games into the season, Scott Spiezio and backup catcher Gary Bennett are the Cardinals' only position players without a start.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Carlos Beltran hits two homers, giving him nine RBI in 22 at-bats in new Busch Stadium.  (AP)
Carlos Beltran hits two homers, giving him nine RBI in 22 at-bats in new Busch Stadium. (AP)

Players of the Game
New York

J. Maine
IP 7.0
H 1
ER 0
BB 2
K 6
New York

C. Beltran
AB 5
R 2
H 2
HR 2
RBI 4
 
New York Mets
Jose Reyes, SS5223010 .308
Paul Lo Duca, C4130100 .385
Carlos Beltran, CF5224012 .333
Carlos Delgado, 1B5000012 .154
David Wright, 3B4210110 .300
Moises Alou, LF3120100 .273
    Lastings Milledge, LF1000000 .000
Shawn Green, RF4121101 .333
Jose Valentin, 2B4000017 .091
John Maine, P3000010 .000
   a- Julio Franco, PH0101000 .000
    Ambiorix Burgos, P0000000 .000
    Aaron Sele, P0000000 .000
Totals381012946  
a-hit a sacrifice fly for Maine in the 8th
Batting
2B - Jose Reyes (1, Springer)
HR - Jose Reyes (1, Hancock), Carlos Beltran 2 (2, Looper, Hancock)
SF - Julio Franco (1)
RBI - Jose Reyes 3 (3), Carlos Beltran 4 (6), Shawn Green (1), Julio Franco (1)
2-OUT RBI - Carlos Beltran (2), Shawn Green (1)
Team LOB - 6
New York Mets
John Maine (W,1-0) 7100260 0.00
Ambiorix Burgos 1000010 0.00
Aaron Sele 1100020 0.00
Pitches-Strikes - John Maine 97-65, Ambiorix Burgos 13-10, Aaron Sele 15-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - John Maine 3-12, Ambiorix Burgos 1-1, Aaron Sele 1-0
Batters Faced - John Maine 24, Ambiorix Burgos 3, Aaron Sele 4
St. Louis Cardinals
David Eckstein, SS4000010 .333
Chris Duncan, LF4010020 .375
Albert Pujols, 1B4000011 .100
Scott Rolen, 3B3010010 .222
   a- So Taguchi, PH1000001 .167
Jim Edmonds, CF1000210 .286
Preston Wilson, RF3000023 .125
Yadier Molina, C3000012 .200
Aaron Miles, 2B3000002 .000
Braden Looper, P1000000 .000
   b- Adam Kennedy, PH1000000 .143
    Josh Hancock, P0000000 .000
    Tyler Johnson, P0000000 .000
    Russ Springer, P0000000 .000
    Brad Thompson, P0000000 .000
   c- Skip Schumaker, PH1000000 .250
    Jason Isringhausen, P0000000 .000
Totals2902029  
a-grounded out for Rolen in the 9th
b-lined out for Looper in the 6th
c-grounded out for Thompson in the 8th
Batting
2B - Chris Duncan (1, Sele)
Team LOB - 4
Fielding
DP - Eckstein-Pujols
E - Preston Wilson (1, Dropped line drive)
St. Louis Cardinals
Braden Looper (L,0-1) 6833131 4.50
Josh Hancock 0.2222012 27.00
Tyler Johnson 0.1000000 0.00
Russ Springer 0.1253210 40.50
Brad Thompson 0.2000110 3.38
Jason Isringhausen 1000000 0.00
WP - Brad Thompson (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Braden Looper 93-54, Josh Hancock 11-9, Tyler Johnson 1-1, Russ Springer 28-17, Brad Thompson 15-9, Jason Isringhausen 10-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Braden Looper 6-8, Josh Hancock 1-0, Brad Thompson 1-0, Jason Isringhausen 1-2
Batters Faced - Braden Looper 26, Josh Hancock 4, Tyler Johnson 1, Russ Springer 6, Brad Thompson 3, Jason Isringhausen 3
Game Information
Attendance - 45423
Game Time - 2:38
Temperature - 41
Umpires - Home - Jim Reynolds, First Base - Adam Dowdy, Second Base - Gary Cederstrom, Third Base - Lance Barksdale