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Beltran's knee improves

SAN FRANCISCO — Cardinals RF Carlos Beltran was among a handful of players who stopped by AT&T Park during Saturday's offday of the NL Championship Series.

He received more treatment on his troublesome left knee to get ready for Game 6 against the Giants on Sunday.

His hard work in the training room is helping his strained knee. Beltran was in the lineup again and batted third.

Beltran, 35, was injured running out a double-play ball in the first inning of Game 3 and missed the rest of that game plus Thursday's Game 4. He had acupuncture treatment to increase blood flow to the knee, then returned for Friday's 5-0 Game 5 loss.

"Well, the progress he made, first of all, was getting on the field," manager Mike Matheny said Sunday. "We were concerned we wouldn't have him, and it took down to right at the last minute before we got him in that last game. But he came out and the first at-bat gets a base hit and then steals a base; pretty indicative of how he's feeling."

PENCE'S PEP TALKS: First, Hunter Pence fired up his San Francisco teammates in Cincinnati with pregame pep talks. The Giants rallied from a 2-0 deficit to stun the Reds in the NL Division Series.

Pence got vocal again before the Game 5 win over the Cardinals that kept the Giants alive in the NLCS.

The rightfielder has surprised a few teammates with his vocal nature this October. Pence arrived at the trading deadline from the Phillies.

"We all know what situation we're in," RHP Matt Cain said. "So it's not really something that has to be said. But I think it's just something that really gets the guys together and gets them thinking about 'Let's go out there and leave it out there. Whatever happens, happens.' It gets everybody on the same mind-set. We all understand what situation we face. I think it's great for all the guys to really get on the same page."

HOLLIDAY OUT: Cardinals LF Matt Holliday was scratched from the starting lineup because of back stiffness. Allen Craig moved to leftfield, with Matt Carpenter taking Craig's usual spot at first base.

TIGERS ROTATION: Detroit plans to send ace RHP Justin Verlander to the mound for Game 1 of the World Series on Wednesday. He'll be followed by RHPs Doug Fister, Anibal Sanchez and Max Scherzer, with Verlander available for a potential Game 5.

Beltran's knee improves 10/21/12 [Last modified: Sunday, October 21, 2012 10:21pm]
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