Craig and the Cards couldn't catch up to Vogelsong Sunday night
It was a different game, but it had the same script as Game 2. Ryan Vogelsong went seven strong innings and the Giants got Chris Carpenter taken out after four innings en route to a 6-1 victory that tied the National League Championship Series at three games apiece. So for the first time since 2006, there will be a Game 7 in the NLCS.
The Cardinals can only hope that Monday's Game 7 is as good to them as the last one played in the NLCS was—a 3-1 victory over the New York Mets at Shea Stadium. Tonight was about the Giants, as Vogelsong struck out nine hitters, which matches his career high. In 14 NLCS innings, he has allowed only two runs against St. Louis in 2012.
By contrast, Carpenter was ineffective again. San Francisco scored in the first on a Buster Posey ground out. However, the damage was done in the second. Sending eight batters to the plate, the Giants scored four runs off of Carpenter. The key at-bat occurred with runners on the corners and one out. Feigning a bunt, Vogelsong slapped a slow grounder to shortstop, but Pete Kozma misplayed it.
Instead of a 2-0 score with two outs, it was first and second with one out. That would be critical as Carpenter struck out Angel Pagan. With an extra out, Marco Scutaro made St. Louis pay, drilling a double to deep left scoring both runs. Pablo Sandoval followed with a single to make it 5-0, and in essence, the game was over.
The Cards managed to score their only run in the sixth on an Allen Craig single that plated Carlos Beltran. But by and large, they were stymied again by Vogelsong. The Giants added another run in the eighth to make it 6-1.
Now, we have a Game 7. The Cardinals have been pushed to their eighth elimination game over the last two years (including Game 161 of the 2011 regular season). They have gone 7-0. To win their crazy eighth, Kyle Lohse will have to be better than he was in Game 3. He won, but he was not sharp, allowing a season-high five walks.
By contrast, St. Louis will be best suited to get an early lead against Matt Cain at home. As expected, this series is going the distance. Champion vs. champion. May the best team win.