Beltran helps forge another link in Mets lore

Carlos Beltran #3 of the St. Louis Cardinals

Carlos Beltran #3 of the St. Louis Cardinals reacts after grounding out to second in the seventh inning against the Mets. (June 2, 2012) (Credit: Getty Images)

From the called third strike in 2006 to the phantom foul ball in Johan Santana's no-hitter, Carlos Beltran further cemented his place in Mets lore Friday night.

Earlier that afternoon, he was the main event, answering questions for nearly 20 minutes about his Citi Field homecoming. But a few hours later, he was cast in a supporting role when his apparent double down the leftfield line was mistakenly ruled foul by umpire Adrian Johnson in the sixth inning.

"When I hit the ball, I saw the ball going over the bag," Beltran said before Saturday's game. "I didn't see where it landed, but I saw it go over the bag. So when the umpire called foul ball, I didn't react, because it doesn't matter if you react. They don't want to change the play."

He grounded out on the next pitch, and aside from Mike Baxter's wall-crashing catch of Yadier Molina's line drive, that blown call was St. Louis' best chance at ruining Santana's run at history. Rather than be upset about the blunder, however, Beltran chalked it up to fate. "What can I say?" he said. "I think it was meant to happen. That's the only way I can put it. Honestly, I'm happy for Johan because he's a good man and he really has battled, last year and this year.

"He's a competitor and he loves to win. I love to win also, but sometimes God rewards people for how hard they work. He has really gone through a lot and now he's getting good results."

Beltran's 2006 link to Adam Wainwright, now his teammate, figured to be forever because of that curveball he took for the last out of the NLCS. But even if he had swung at that Wainwright pitch with the Mets down two runs, the bases loaded and two outs in the ninth, there's no guarantee Beltran would've put his team in the World Series. On Friday, though, he deserved an assist for helping the Mets achieve the next-best thing.

"You don't want to be part of any no-hitters," Beltran said. "But in my case, I would say that a future Hall of Fame pitcher did it. He threw a great, great ballgame and I think he deserved it."

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