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10/18/06 12:52 AM ET

Mets Short Hops: Game 5

Loss to St. Louis puts New York in must-win situation

Fielding the Mets' Game 5 loss to the Cardinals on a short hop ...

In < 25 words ...
The National League Championship Series falls into rookie John Maine's hands after the Mets came up short in Game 5.

Frozen moment
With one out and runners on second and third in the eighth inning and the Mets trailing, 4-2, Shawn Green flied out to center off Cardinals reliever Randy Flores and Jose Valentin struck out looking against reliever Adam Wainwright.

Big number
8 -- The Mets didn't do much to help starter Tom Glavine after leaving two men on base to start the game. Overall, the Mets left eight men on.

Game balls
Two balls -- Pedro Feliciano entered in the fifth after Chad Bradford had relieved Glavine with the bases loaded and a run already in. Feliciano forced Jim Edmonds into a groundout and then Ronnie Belliard into a flyout to end the inning. He did allow a solo homer to Cards pinch-hitter Chris Duncan, who batted .170 against left-handers with only two homers during the regular season, in the sixth.

Sense of October
With the series tied and Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter due to pitch Game 6, the Mets needed a quality outing from Glavine. He started well, holding the Cards scoreless for three innings, but he gave up two runs in the fourth and one more in the fifth.

"Tommy is pretty much the same [every outing], for the most part; he's got to hit his spots and locate. He had the one tough inning, obviously, in the fourth, but outside of that, I thought he pitched pretty well. When you watch Glavine pitch, he's a great pitcher, but you don't really see a great difference in his stuff from game to game. He's going to mix in his pitches, his locations and change speeds on you. So I didn't really see any difference." -- Mets manager Willie Randolph, on Glavine

Lines of the Game
Jose Valentin
3 AB, 1 H, 1 2B, 2 RBIs
Comment: After starting the postseason hitless in his first four games, Valentin has gone 5-for-14 with five RBIs in his last four games, including a two-run double in Game 5 that gave the Mets a 2-0 lead.

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Tom Glavine
4+ IP, 3 R, 3 ER, 7 H, 3 BB, 2 Ks
Comment: Glavine wasn't nearly as good as he was in Game 1, throwing 80 pitches -- only 40 strikes -- before being relieved in the fifth after allowing three consecutive hits.

Next Step
It's the rookie vs. the reigning NL Cy Young winner as Maine and the Mets must come up big against Carpenter and the Cards to even the series in Game 6.

Chris Girandola is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.