The San Francisco Giants evened the NLCS at one game apiece with an easy 7-1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals Monday night in San Francisco.
The Giants were in the driver's seat after their four-run fourth inning gave them a 5-1 lead.
Marco Scutaro delivered the big blow with a single to plate the inning's second and third runs, which had to be a nice bit of redemption for him after Matt Holliday plowed into him while trying to break up the double play in the first. The slide is in the below video. It is a touch excessive.
However, Scutaro's revenge was short-lived, as he was forced to leave the game in the fifth due to an injured hip. The Giants later tweeted out this news.
Marco Scutaro is getting X-rays on his left hip #SFGiants— San Francisco Giants (@SFGiants) October 16, 2012
That four-run lead proved to be more than sufficient for San Francisco's Ryan Vogelsong. The 35-year-old went seven innings, allowing just one run, four hits, two walks and striking out four.
Vogelsong was sharp all night, leaving nothing over the plate for Cards batters all game. In fact, this is one of the greatest starts in Giants postseason history, which I know sounds a lot like hyperbole for a seven-inning outing, but check out what ESPN tweeted.
Ryan Vogelsong is the FIFTH Giants starter to allow 1 earned run or fewer in 7 innings of work in a start which took place in the NLCS.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 16, 2012
On the other side of the spectrum was Cardinals starter Chris Carpenter, who did not make it to the fifth inning after the rough four-run fourth.
Only two of those runs were earned, as the Cardinals uncharacteristically committed two errors in the inning, one of which was a throwing error by Carpenter.
Even though Carpenter missed the first 150 games of the season with thoracic outlet syndrome, the Cardinals were undoubtedly expecting more from their ace—and they would have every reason to.
He pitched 5.2 innings of shutout baseball against the Washington Nationals last series, and the guy has been simply amazing in the postseason.
In fact, this may be Carpenter's worst postseason start—a point that is supported by this tweet from CSN's Andrew Baggarly:
First time since Game 2 of 2006 NLCS (vs. Mets) that Chris Carpenter has allowed five runs in a postseason start. Ties career high.— Andrew Baggarly (@CSNBaggs) October 16, 2012
While the rough start put the Cardinals in a hole, it is not a position this cardiac group is alien to. ESPN's Jayson Stark tweeted out this gem.
This is the Cardinals' 8th NLCS game in the last 2 Octobers. Average number of outs their starters have gotten in those games: 12.— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) October 16, 2012
With a stat like that, it is hard to believe the Cardinals are the defending World Series champs and will head back to St. Louis with this series tied.
Yet here they are, undoubtedly already having put this poor performance in the deepest corners of their memory.
Game 3 will be Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET on Fox.