The St. Louis Cardinals have been at the receiving end of Carlos Beltrán's offensive prowess in the postseason.

Who could forget his assault on the playoff stage during the 2004 postseason, when he hit eight home runs as a member of the Houston Astros, four of those coming during the National League Championship Series? He then reintroduced himself with three more for the New York Mets in the 2006 NLCS.

Beltrán was up to his old tricks Monday afternoon, this time for St. Louis, hitting two of the Cardinals' four home runs in their 12-4 rout of the Washington Nationals, to even up the best of five series at one game apiece.

The Puerto Rican right fielder blasted a homer off the facing of second deck in the sixth inning. He wasn't done yet, adding to the home run party with another blast that sailed over the bullpen in the eighth.

As a rent-a-player for the Astros in the 2004 playoffs, Beltrán's infamous eight-homer outburst parlayed him a seven-year, $117 million deal with the New York Mets. While Beltrán produced during his time with the Mets, fans in New York will never forget his at-bat in Game 7 of 2006 the NLCS, looking at a curveball from current teammate Adam Wainwright for a called third strike to end the game.

With the Cardinals unwilling to meet Albert Pujols' contract demands last offseason, the team decided to invest some of that money in other areas that would suit the team well, namely in the outfield with the 35-year-old Beltrán, a free agent after finishing out the final two months of the season with the San Francisco Giants.

The Cardinals, victims of seven of the 13 postseason home runs Beltrán has hit, had it all figured out. They probably said, 'Well if we can't beat him might as well have him join us' for a two-year, $26 million deal.

Despite hitting at a .269 clip in the regular season, he finished with 32 home runs and drove in 97 runs in 151 games, the most he had played since 2008 with New York as knee injuries and surgeries started to limit him in the following three seaasons.

While we're seeing players like Alex Rodriguez have some sort of difficulty thriving under the bright lights of the playoffs, Beltrán has without a doubt welcomed it with his bat the few times he's had a chance to play in it.

Beltrán sheepishly admited he wasn't trying to clear the fences.

"I wasn't trying to hit the ball out. I wanted to make good contact and put it in play," said Beltrán to reporters.

Over a span of 10 games in the NLDS, Beltrán is hitting .385 with six home runs and 13 RBIs. He's carried his offensive exploits to the LCS with a .353 average, seven home runs and 14 RBIs.

His 13 career playoff home runs have him in a tie for the 11th on the all-time list with Rodriguez, Jayson Werth, Chipper Jones and Jim Edmonds.

Beltrán owns the highest slugging percentage (.819) and on base plus slugging percentage (1.297) in the history of the postseason although he's only been there three times in his 15-year career.

He joined some special company after accomplishing his third career multi-homer playoff game, tying Dominican Manny Ramirez. Some guy named Babe Ruth did it four times.

While the Cardinals sure did enjoy the power display, they did have to remove Jaime Garcia after just two innings.

Manager Mike Matheny said after the game that the left-hander would be undergoing an MRI on his left shoulder.

Garcia, who last October became the second Mexican-born pitcher to start a World Series game (Fernando Valenzuela was the first in 1981), had missed two months with a strain in his left shoulder.

Adry Torres, who has covered MLB, NFL, NBA and NCAA basketball games and related events, is a regular contributor to Fox News Latino. He can be reached at elpiloto137@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter: @adrytorresnyc

 

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