ST. LOUIS -- Monday night turned into another missed opportunity for the St. Louis Cardinals, and it could have been so much worse.St. Louis entered the ninth inning on the verge of being the first no-hit victims in Busch Stadium IIIs 11-year history, but Jeremy Hazelbakers leadoff homer on an 0-2 pitch from Chicago Cubs right-hander Kyle Hendricks saved it from that distinction, if not the indignity of a 4-1 loss.Whats more, the New York Mets 8-1 loss in Washington kept the Cardinals (75-68) a half-game out of the National Leagues second wild-card spot. Theyll hope for similar help Tuesday night as well as a better result in game two of their series with the Cubs.Manager Mike Matheny, perhaps looking for any positive from an offense thats scored in just four of their last 34 innings, pointed to the last three outs of Monday nights defeat as a good sign.Its always good to score and then get another guy on base, he said. You try to make something happen and put a little pressure on them. We didnt care how it happened; we wanted to get something going.Time is running out to get something going for St. Louis, especially at home, where it fell to 32-40 and must win its last nine games to avoid its first sub-.500 season since Busch III opened in 2006.It wont help that itll have to face Jason Hammel (14-8, 3.50), who already owns two wins against it this year, a 2-1 decision on April 19 and a 12-3 verdict on May 24 in which he worked six shutout innings despite not having his best stuff.But the recent version of Hammel is one they might be able to hit. Hes coming off a dreary 12-5 defeat Sept. 6 in Milwaukee, where he allowed 13 hits and nine runs, eight earned, in 5 2/3 innings.However, Cardinals starter Jaime Garcia hasnt been much better. Garcia (10-12, 4.58) has been pummeled in four of his last five starts, including a 12-6 loss Thursday night to the Brewers at home.Garcia was lit up for eight hits and five runs in 3 2/3 innings, walking one and whiffing three, as he suffered his fourth straight loss.Whats more, St. Louis might have another injury concern to deal with as first baseman Matt Carpenter departed Monday nights game after seven innings with back tightness. His status for Tuesday night isnt known.What is known is that Chicago would love to clinch on its archrivals turf. The proof of that might have come in the sixth inning Monday night, when right fielder Jason Heyward enraged the fans who cheered for him last year by falling into the seats to snatch Hazelbakers foul fly.It also highlighted one of the big differences in the teams. While the Cardinals have been one of the games shakiest teams defensively, the Cubs sport plus defenders and good athletes at almost every spot on the field.Heyward jumping into the seats, Addy (shortstop Addison Russell) in the hole, JB (second baseman Javier Baez) all over the place, manager Joe Maddon said. All of that. College Jerseys From China . -- Mike Smith never saw his first NHL goal go in. Cheap College Jerseys Outlet . General manager Jarmo Kekalainen told Aaron Portzline of The Columbus Dispatch on Friday that he wants to see Gaboriks contributions go beyond the scoresheet before considering a long-term deal for the soon-to-be unrestricted free agent. http://www.jerseyscollegecheap.com/ . After a replay, the winner will meet Sunderland in the quarterfinals. Sagbo did well to control Sone Alukos right cross and fire past Brighton goalkeeper Peter Brezovan. Aluko was making his first start in four months after recovering from an Achilles injury. Wholesale College Jerseys . 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His reception total is one less than Beckhams team-leading total and his yardage is one more than Beckhams total.I knew it was going to be rough at first, just getting the playbook down and everything, but once I got that down, I was ready, Shepard said Thursday after the Giants (2-0) practiced for Sundays game against the Washington Redskins (0-2).I knew I was ready for this. I feel like this is what I was born to do, so I am excited. I cant wait for the rest of the season.Shepard has been somewhat of the beneficiary of playing with Beckham. Opponents have doubled Beckham more often than not and that has left the rookie and fellow receiver Victor Cruz in single coverage.How long that continues remains to be seen.Shepard said that he didnt see anything different from the Saints when they played last weekend.It is kind of hard to tell this early, Shepard said. Everybody has been playing their base defense.There has been a lot of help on Odells side, so I feel like we have to do a better job, just to get some of those guys off of him and give him some breathing room, so we just have to continue to do what we have been doing and keep preparing the way we have been preparing.Quarterback Eli Manning has worked well with Shepard, a 5-foot-10 player who looks solid at just under 200 pounds. He has thrown the ball his way 12 times and failed to get a reception only once, hitting all eight against New Orleans for 117 yards.Sheppard has turned into a big third-down target with six catches for 101 yards and a touchdown.dddddddddddd He had a big third-down catch near midfield to keep the final drive alive.It ended with Josh Browns field goal on the final play of the 16-13 win.I love third downs, Shepard said. It is a chance that we have to stay on the field, so I am definitely licking my chops every time it is third down, we need something big.That is the way it has been playing out. I have been beating my guy and getting open, trying to find little gaps in the zone, that is just the way it has been working out and hopefully that continues and like I said, I love third down.Cruz, whose clutch 34-yard catch gave New York a first-and-goal on the final drive, knew about Shepard before the Giants took him in the draft.Sitting out last season, he watched a lot of college football.I knew his skill set from watching Oklahoma, Cruz said. He has come in and continued what he did at Oklahoma, so its not been a big surprise.Shepard could get a different taste of the NFL if Redskins cornerback Josh Norman lines up against him and subjects him to his physical, trash-talking style of play.I have been dealing with the same type of corners in college, Shepard said. I just never really focus on what other people are doing.I just focus on what we have to do as a team to win and that is all that we need to focus on, we dont need to focus on all of the outside stuff that is going on, or what somebody else is doing.Game notes Rookie S Darian Thompson joined OT Marshall Newhouse and DT Robert Thomas in not practicing. He is being listed as week to week. ... RB Rashad Jennings was limited against Thursday with a hand injury. ... 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