The San Francisco Giants beat the St. Louis Cardinals 6-1 to force a deciding Game 7 Monday in the National League Championship Series.
SAN FRANCISCO — On Friday, the San Francisco Giants seemed to halt the relentless forward momentum of the St. Louis Cardinals. And with remarkable ease, they seemed to wrest that momentum fully Sunday night.
On a cool night at AT&T Park, galvanized by their home support, the Giants cruised to a 6-1 victory over St. Louis in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series — staving off elimination from the postseason for the second straight game and prolonging their quest to become the seventh team to win a best-of-seven league-championship series after falling behind 3-1.
The teams are set to return to the same field Monday to settle the deadlock.
“We know what’s at stake, and now to get to this point, we’re excited,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “Being down 3-1, you go out there and you play like there’s no tomorrow and these guys have done a great job of it.”
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Pitcher Matt Cain will start for the Giants, trying to help them continue what would amount to one of the unlikeliest playoff runs in recent memory. Kyle Lohse will take the ball for the Cardinals, hoping to give them a chance to defend their championship. The winner will host the Detroit Tigers, the American League champions, on Wednesday for Game 1 of the World Series.
“We’ve got to make some adjustments, but our team’s done that all season,” St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said. “One thing I know is, these guys take these to heart.”
On Sunday, the Giants were spurred on by the brilliant performance of Ryan Vogelsong, who recorded a career-high nine strikeouts. Vogelsong allowed one run, four hits and one walk over seven ruthlessly efficient innings.
Vogelsong, 35, charged through the early part of the game, chomping steadily on gum, pounding the strike zone with fastballs. A mere three of his first 31 pitches were off-speed, and he struck out five Cardinals through the first two innings. Gradually, more and more curveballs and changeups tumbled from his hand, but the results were similar.
The Cardinals, who lost No. 3 hitter Matt Holliday for this game because of lower-back stiffness, seemed helpless. Vogelsong did not allow a hit until the fifth inning, when Daniel Descalso had a two-out, broken-bat single into shallow center field. Fans saluted Vogelsong, rising from their seats and chanting his name.
Vogelsong did not allow a run until the sixth, when Allen Craig slipped a single past third base to drive in Carlos Beltran from second. Vogelsong’s postseason earned-run average is 1.42.
Several Giants players, Vogelsong included, noted the party-like atmosphere inside the ballpark.
The Giants got to St. Louis pitcher Chris Carpenter, as they did in Game 2. The Cardinals’ winningest postseason pitcher, with 10 victories, looked out of sync for the second straight start. He allowed six hits and five runs, two earned, in four innings.
San Francisco led 5-0 after two innings.
“The bottom line is, I’m not giving my team a chance to win,” Carpenter said.
“You go out with a 5-0 lead after two innings, it’s not giving your team a chance.”
|St. Louis||000 001 000||—||1||5||1|
|San Francisco||140 000 01x||—||6||9||1|
E — Kozma (1), G.Blanco (1). LOB — St. Louis 6, San Francisco 7. 2B — Beltran (3), Scutaro (3), Sandoval (1), G.Blanco (1). 3B — Belt (1). RBI — Craig (2), Scutaro 2 (4), Sandoval (5), Posey (1), Vogelsong (1), Theriot (3). Runners left in scoring position — St. Louis 2 (Schumaker, S.Robinson); San Francisco 3 (Pence, B.Crawford, Pagan). RISP — St. Louis 1 for 3; San Francisco 3 for 10. Runners moved up — Posey.
|C.Carpenter L, 0-2||4||6||5||2||2||6||4.50|
|Vogelsong W, 2-0||7||4||1||1||1||9||1.29|
Pitches — C.Carpenter 76, S.Miller 37, Salas 15, Rzepczynski 13, Mujica 3, Vogelsong 102, Affeldt 10, S.Casilla 3, Romo 8. Inherited runners-scored — Mujica 2-1, S.Casilla 1-0. IBB — off C.Carpenter (B.Crawford). Umpires — Home, Jerry Layne; First, Gary Darling; Second, Chris Guccione; Third, Bill Miller; Right, Ted Barrett; Left, Greg Gibson. T — 2:55. A — 43,070.