Rusch puts Mets in sight of prize

New York is on the brink of providing the two teams that will square off for the World Series after both the Mets and the Yankees held their advantages in the National League Championship Series games.

New York is on the brink of providing the two teams that will square off for the World Series after both the Mets and the Yankees held their advantages in the National League Championship Series games.

In their most recent games, on Sunday, the Mets hit five doubles in a four-run opening inning, but it was a pair of errors by Fernando Tatis in the sixth that put them one win away from their first World Series appearance in 15 years. The Mets overcame a two-run deficit by opening the bottom of the first inning with four straight doubles and they scored seven times over the first two frames en route to a 10-6 triumph over the St Louis Cardinals in game four. That left them with a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series. Glendon Rusch finished the game by preventing the Cardinals scoring in the last three innings.

"Before the series I told Rusch he was going to be the wild card," said the Mets manager, Bobby Valentine. "He got the win by pitching three huge innings for us. He deserved it."

A delighted Rusch said: "Coming out of the bullpen in the post season I just have to show up every day with the attitude that I'm going to be in the game."

The Cardinals' Jim Edmonds hit a two-run homer off the Mets' starter Bobby Jones at the top of the first. But, after being thumped 8-2 last Saturday, the Mets got going quickly this time. Rookie Timoniel Perez, Edgardo Alfonzo, Mike Piazza, Robin Ventura and Benny Agbayani doubled off Cardinals starter Darryl Kile (1-2) in the bottom half.

After generating little over the first four games of the American League Championship Series, the heart of the Seattle Mariners line-up produced five runs in the fifth inning of a 6-2 triumph over the Yankees, but still trail the series 3-2 with the last two games to be played in New York.

Behind 2-1 in the bottom of the fifth, Seattle rallied as Alex Rodriguez had a two-run single off reliever Jeff Nelson, Edgar Martinez a two-run homer, and John Olerud a solo hit. The game took four hours 14 minutes, the longest in LCS history.

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