Carlos Beltran's replacement gives Cardinals a 2-1 lead

Matt Carpenter hit a two-run home run in the third inning. (Getty Images)

ST. LOUIS -- Is there anything quite like the luck of the Cardinals?

Perhaps the best hitter in postseason baseball history goes down, and his replacement hits a two-run home run in his first at-bat. That's what happened in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series on Wednesday. Right fielder Carlos Beltran left after the first inning with a left knee strain, and his replacement, Matt Carpenter hit a two-run shot in the third to give St. Louis a 2-1 lead over the Giants. 

Beltran entered the game with the best home run to at-bat in postseason history at 7.93, better than Babe Ruth's 8.60. Even after grounding into a double play in the first, Beltran's career postseason average is .375. This postseason he's 12 for 30 (.400) with 26 total bases and eight extra-base hits.

Carpenter was 1 for 5 this postseason before his homer.

The Cardinals said Beltran is considered "day-to-day" with his injury.

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