NEW YORK — No way anybody was catching Yadier Molina's ninth-inning shot. And by the time it landed beyond the left-field fence, the St. Louis Cardinals were headed to the World Series.
Molina's tiebreaking homer and another Game 7 gem by Jeff Suppan helped St. Louis overcome Endy Chavez's astounding grab, giving the Cardinals a 3-1 victory over the New York Mets on Thursday night for the NL championship.
Adam Wainwright wriggled out of a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the ninth, striking out St. Louis nemesis Carlos Beltran to end it and leaving a stunned crowd in deflated silence just moments after it had Shea Stadium shaking.
And with that, the Cardinals earned their second pennant in three years and a date with the Detroit Tigers on Saturday night in Game 1 of the World Series.
Hey Motown, here come the Cards.
Molina, a .216 career hitter with only six home runs during the regular season, drove the first pitch he saw from reliever Aaron Heilman into New York's bullpen for a 3-1 lead in the ninth.
Chavez, who made one of the most memorable postseason catches just three innings earlier, could only stand and watch at the fence as the Mets' World Series hopes were dashed.
Scott Rolen, robbed of a homer by Chavez in the sixth, got the St. Louis rally in the ninth started with a single.