Carlos Beltran was not in the St. Louis Cardinals’ starting lineup for Game 4 of the NL championship series against the San Francisco Giants on Thursday night, a day after injuring his left knee while running on a double-play grounder.
Rookie Matt Carpenter batted second in place of Beltran and played first base, with cleanup man Allen Craig moving to right field. Both players are more comfortable at those spots.
Carpenter hit a two-run homer off Matt Cain in his first NLCS at-bat after subbing for Beltran in Game 3, helping the Cardinals take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.
Manager Mike Matheny says tests showed no significant injury but that Beltran is sore. But Matheny said the 35-year-old Beltran would be available to pinch hit.
”It wasn’t one particular spot that seemed to be bothering him,” Matheny said. ”It just kind of grabbed him yesterday.”
Beltran has had minor knee issues throughout the year but played 151 games. He led the Cardinals with a .400 average in the postseason with three homers and six RBI and was a career .375 hitter in the postseason, best among players with a minimum of 100 at-bats.
”He’s had things pop up through the season that we thought would be something that would put him on the shelf for a while, next thing you know he’s out the next day,” Matheny said. ”And vice versa, something that wasn’t going to be a big deal and knocked him out for a little while. I know right now obviously we have an urgency and he knows that as well as anybody.”
Matheny also said Lance Lynn, who gave up four runs in 3 2-3 innings in Game 1, will be his Game 5 starter Friday night against Giants lefty Barry Zito.