Magic Johnson was in the house Friday night. The St. Louis Cardinals had their own magic man.
Carlos Beltran, who has earned the name as Señor Octubre for his postseason heroics (he passed Babe Ruth on the all-time postseason homer list at 16 with two blasts in the NLDS), stole the magic show from the Dodgers co-owner with his bat and his arm.
With one toss of his magic arm, Beltran snuffed out the Dodgers' potential winning run by throwing out Mark Ellis at home play in the top of the ninth inning. He called center fielder Jon Jay off the ball, circled around and caught it with all of his momentum heading toward home.
The ball bounced once into the mitt of catcher Yadier Molina, who applied the tag on Ellis. Yes Dodgers fans and TV pundits, Ellis did run into the tag as still pictures show. He was out.
It was a textbook catch and throw.
That game-saver, along with his two-run double in the third inning would have been more than enough for Beltran to earn Player of the Game honors. But this magic man had one more trick up his sleeve.
In the bottom of the 13th inning, Beltran stroked a double down the right field corner to drive in the winning run, nearly five hours after the first pitch at 7:38 p.m.
I've witnessed several monumental Cardinals postseason moments - Ozzie Smith's "Go Crazy Folks" homer in the 1985 NLCS, equally unlikely blasts by Jose Oquendo and Tom Lawless in the 1987 NLCS and World Series, respectively, the Cardinals come-from-behind World Series Game 7 victory, to name a few — and viewed many others on TV.
Without a doubt, Beltran's moments rank right up there with all of those, including that of Willie McGee's two-homer and home run robbing catch in the 1982 World Series at Milwaukee.
Beltran made a pretty good sales pitch to Cards general manager John Mozeliak that he might just want to renew his contract for next year.