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Cardinals short hops
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10/10/2004 2:12 AM ET
Cardinals short hops
Matheny's streak one trend that continues upward
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LOS ANGELES -- Mike Matheny was involved in the key third-inning bunt play that proved momentous in the Dodgers' 4-0 victory over the Cardinals in Game 3 of the National League Division Series on Saturday. But maybe even more notable is the streak he kept alive two innings later.

There aren't many offensive highlights to take away from that game if you're a Redbirds fan. But that fifth-inning single with two out extended the Cardinals catcher's postseason hitting streak to 12 games, the longest active postseason streak in the Majors. Considering that it was one of only five hits allowed by Jose Lima the entire evening at Dodger Stadium, it didn't come easily.

Matheny will try to make it 13 games in a row Sunday when he faces Odalis Perez, against whom he homered in Game 1.

Bernie Williams of the Yankees has the second-longest postseason hit streak; he was 2-for-5 in a Saturday clincher in Minnesota to make it 11 consecutive playoff games with at least one hit.

Vitals check
A look at key statistics through Game 3 of the NLDS.

Team stats

Digits Trend The Deal
ERA 3.46 first two runs were debatable, all four charged to Morris
BA .255 Lima found a way to shut down all that offense
Runs 16 first batter of game (Womack) reached third -- far as they got
Errors 0 Edmonds nearly gunned down Cora at third in third inning

Who's hot?

Player Digits Trend The Deal
Mike Matheny .400 BA (4-for-10), 5 RBIs one more hit extends postseason hit streak to 12
Steve Kline 2 G, 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R the only one who could retire Green in Game 3

Who's not?

Player Digits Trend The Deal
Scott Rolen 0-for-10 bad-looking whiff stranded Womack at third in first
Larry Walker 3-for-12 after that red-hot start, now 0-for-last-6

Behind the numbers
Remember those record-tying five Cardinals homers in Game 1? Maybe they should have saved some. The Redbirds have gone 18 consecutive innings without a long ball since Walker's in the seventh inning of the opener.

Frozen moment
Matt Morris sawed off Steve Finley's bat in the third inning and left wood shrapnel all over the infield -- but the ball reached left field, making it 2-0 for Los Angeles.

Slick move
Morris intentionally walked Brent Mayne to force Lima to hit with two out and the bases full in the sixth. Lima was allowed to hit and struck out to at least end that threat.

Shooting for six
The Cardinals have won five of six postseason series in which they were matched up against National League West foes, and they are one victory away from clinching a sixth. Here are the results of those series:

Year Series Opponent Result
1982 NLCS Braves W, 3-0
1985 NLCS Dodgers W, 4-2
1987 NLCS Giants W, 4-3
1996 NLDS Padres W, 3-0
2001 NLDS D-Backs L, 3-2
2002 NLDS D-Backs W, 3-0
2002 NLCS Giants L, 4-1

Last word
"He's pitching with his heart. He ain't showing anybody up. He came out and shut out the best offense in baseball and you tip your cap to him."
-- Kline, about Lima's emotional displays on the mound in Game 3

Mark Newman is enterprise editor for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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