Results tagged ‘ St. Louis Cardinals ’

NLCS Game 2: San Francisco Giants 7, St. Louis Cardinals 1

San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Ryan Vogelsong throws during the second inning of Game 2 of baseball’s National League championship series against the St. Louis Cardinals Monday, Oct. 15, 2012, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

BOX SCORE

Game 1: Cardinals 6, Giants 4
Game 2: Giants 7, Cardinals 1
Game 3: Giants (Cain) at Cardinals (Lohse), 1:07 p.m. Wednesday
Game 4: Giants (Lincecum or Zito) at Cardinals (Wainwright), 5:07 p.m. Thursday
Game 5: Giants (Lincecum or Zito) at Cardinals (Lynn), 5:07 p.m. Friday
x-Game 6: Cardinals at Giants, 1:07 p.m. Sunday
x-Game 7: Cardinals at Giants, 5:07 p.m. Monday

Ryan Vogelsong stopped the streak. Several streaks in fact.

And in doing so he kept another streak going.

The first streak that ended was the Giants’ three-game losing streak at home in the postseason, and that evened the NLCS at one game each.

He helped end Chris Carpenter’s streak of winning his last five postseason decisions.

And by pitching seven solid innings, he became the first Giants starter to post a quality start in the postseason.

Of course, Vogelsong could have ended that last streak in his last start had the Giants managed any early hitting in Game 3 of the NLDS. Vogelsong gave up one run in five innings against the Reds, when he was lifted for a pinch-hitter when the Giants were being no-hit by Homer Bailey.

And that was the positive streak he extended Monday. Monday’s start was the fifth consecutive start that Vogelsong has allowed one run or fewer. Take a look:

  • Sept. 21 vs. Padres: 6 IP, 1 ER, 5 hits
  • Sept. 28 at Padres: 6 IP, 1 R, 0 ER, 5 hits
  • Oct. 3 at Dodgers: 5 IP, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 hits
  • Oct. 9 at Reds: 5 IP, 1 ER, 3 hits
  • Oct. 15 vs. Cardinals: 7 IP, 1 ER, 4 hits

And this after a seven-start stretch in August and September in which he posted on ERA over 10.00.

Angel Pagan gave the Giants the early lead with his second lead-off home run of the postseason.

After the Cardinals tied the game 1-1, the Giants took control with their second four-run fourth inning in two days.

Brandon Belt, who struggled in the NLDS, came up with a big double in the fourth, and moved to third on Gregor Blanco’s single. When Chris Carpenter made an error on Brandon Crawford’s chopper, Belt scored to make it 2-1.

After a walk to Pagan, Marco Scutaro, who was hurt by a late slide by Matt Holliday in the first, delivered a two-run single and a third run scored when Holliday booted the ball in the outfield.

The Giants added to more runs in the eighth when Ryan Theriot, who replaced the injured Scutaro in the sixth, delivered a bases-loaded single.

Scutaro had X-rays after the game, which came back clean. Then he went to the hospital for an MRI.

But the Giants got the win they needed. They need to win at least one in St. Louis to bring the series back to San Francisco. And who would pitch in that potential Game 6 in SF?

Ryan Vogelsong.

NLCS Game 1: St. Louis Cardinals 6, San Francisco Giants 4

San Francisco Giants pitching coach Dave Righetti (33) visits starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner (40) on the mound along with catcher Buster Posey (28) during Game 1 of the National League baseball championship series against the St. Louis Cardinals, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/The Sacramento Bee, Jose Luis Villegas) MAGS OUT; LOCAL TV OUT (KCRA3, KXTV10, KOVR13, KUVS19, KMAZ31, KTXL40); MANDATORY CREDIT

BOX SCORE

Game 1: Cardinals 6, Giants 4
Game 2: Cardinals (Carpenter) at Giants (Vogelsong), 5:07 p.m. Monday
Game 3: Giants (Cain) at Cardinals (Lohse), 1:07 p.m. Wednesday
Game 4: Giants (TBA) at Cardinals (TBA), 5:07 p.m. Thursday
x-Game 5: Giants (TBA) at Cardinals (TBA), 5:07 p.m. Friday
x-Game 6: Cardinals at Giants, 1:07 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 21
x-Game 7: Cardinals at Giants, 5:07 p.m., Monday, Oct. 22

Normally, it’s the visiting team that comes into the best-of-seven series looking to at least split the first two games.

But if you had asked any Giants fan heading into the 2012 NLCS, they would have gladly taken a split.

Now, the Giants almost need that split.

Things started badly for the Giants Sunday, got a little better, but ended with a 6-4 loss to the Cardinals in the Giants’ third consecutive home postseason loss at AT&T Park.

And the overriding question after the loss was: What is wrong with Madison Bumgarner.

A pitcher who was so key during the Giants’ 2010 World Series run has been in a major funk this postseason.

It continued Sunday, as MadBum was tagged for six runs on eight hits, one walk in 3 2/3 innings.

Things started off well for Bumgarner as he set the Cardinals down in order in the first on two groundouts and a line out to left.

“He came out with good stuff, but it dropped a little bit,” manager Bruce Bochy said.

But in the second, Bumgarner got stung again by the long ball, something the Giants’ had hoped to avoid by having Bumgarner start at home.

David Freese’s two-run shot to left gave the Cardinals a 2-0 lead.

In the fourth it got worse. Daniel Descalso raked a double down the line in right. Pete Kozma followed with a double down the left field line and it was 3-0 Cardinals. After striking out pitcher Lance Lynn, Jon Jay singled home Kozma. Then Carlos Beltran’s two-run homer to left ended Bumgarner’s night.

“I think (he’s) just struggling with command,” catcher Buster Posey said. “Breaking balls not getting buried in. It doesn’t have quite the same finish on it. I’d say that’s the main thing.”

More troubling was the radar gun on Bumgarner, which Alex Pavlovic of the San Jose Mercury News reported at being around 88-89 mph in the fourth inning, lower than the 91-93 mph we are used to seeing from Bumgarner.

“That’s the way it’s been the past two starts,” Bumgarner said. “Not a whole lot of life on the ball. At the same time, you’ve still got to find a way to make pitches.”

Well, it’s been more than the last two starts in the postseason. It actually dates back to August.

Bumgarner had a string of eight consecutive quality starts from July 13-Aug. 20, culminating with eight shutout innings (four hits, 10 Ks) at Los Angeles.

Since then, he has only had one quality start — Sept. 17 at home against the Rockies, when he gave up one run on four hits in six innings. However, in that game, he walked a season-high five batters. In his other regular-season starts, he’s given up 3 to 5 runs in between 4.0-6.1 innings per start.

And you’ll recall the Giants didn’t exactly finish the season against powerhouse lineups: Cubs, Rockies twice, Padres twice.

In the postseason, he gave four runs on seven hits in four innings vs. the Reds. And then Sunday’s start.

In his last four starts, he’s given up six home runs — in pitcher friendly ballparks (3 starts at AT&T, one in Petco).

So what does this mean for Game 5?

“We’ll talk about it tonight, tomorrow, and as we get to Game 5 what we will do,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “But, he’s one of our guys. He’s had a great year, and we’ve seen what this kid has done for us during the season and in the postseason. But, it’s something that we’ll discuss.”

Depending on what happens Monday with Vogelsong, it looks as if Barry Zito might get the call.

For what it’s worth, Zito gave up two runs on eight hits in 6 2/3 innings in his only start in St. Louis this season on Aug. 7.

St. Louis Cardinals 3, San Francisco Giants 1: Like you didn’t see that coming

BOX SCORE

One day after scoring 15 runs, the Giants only managed one Thursday in the series finale against the Cardinals.

You didn’t have to be Nostradamus to predict that.

As we mentioned Wednesday, a win Thursday would have been icing on the cake.

  • The Giants still leave St. Louis with a split
  • They leave with a 5-2 road trip.
  • They leave with a 9-4 record on their last two road trips.
  • They leave with a one-game lead in the NL West.

But there were some unsettling stats from Thursday’s game.

The Giants out-hit the Cardinals 5-4. They also drew four walks to one by St. Louis.

The difference was this: Three of the Cardinals’ four hits were extra-base hits. Two contributed to runs: Carlos Beltran’s two-run home run in the first and Jon Jay’s double in the sixth.

Meanwhile, all of the Giants’ hits were singles.

Hunter Pence went 0 for 4 with three strikeouts.

If you’re looking for a positive as the Giants’ travel home, we’ll offer you this:

The Giants bullpen, which had its struggles recently, finished the series with 7 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings.

San Francisco Giants 15, St. Louis Cardinals 0: A perfect night in Missouri

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The next time the Giants are struggling to score runs — which could easily come Thursday — and fans start to complain, they can remember August 8 in St. Louis.

The next time Giants fans complain that the Giants can just win games easily, they can remember August 8.

The next time fans complain the Giants don’t give Ryan Vogelsong enough run support, they can remember August 8.

And hopefully, some time in October when the Giants in the postseason, they can look back on August 8 as a turning point.

The Giants got a win they needed to get Wednesday. Oddly enough, on a night when they only needed one run, they got 15.

Too bad there’s not run equity or aggregate scores don’t count for anything.

The Giants needed to come into St. Louis and earn a split. They’ve assured themselves of at least doing that.

It will enable the Giants to return home on Friday with the lead in the NL West, either one game over the Dodgers or two.

As Mike Krukow said Wednesday, if the Giants lose Thursday, it will have been a good road trip. If they win, it will be a great one.

On the heels of an ugly 3-7 homestead, the Giants have turned the tables with a road trip that will be at worst a 5-2 one, at best 6-1.

And there were plenty of highlights to go around:

Marco Scutaro was the star of the box score, with his seven RBI. But six of those RBI, including his grand slam, came in the eighth and ninth innings, when the game was well in hand. The biggest RBI was his first, when he singled home Angel Pagan in the first inning. It marked the fifth time on this road trip that the Giants have scored in the first inning. They won all of those games.

Hunter Pence went 2 for 5 with a pair of RBI singles.

Buster Posey kept it up, going 1 for 2 with three walks. If teams are going to continue to pitch around Posey, Pence’s contributions will become even bigger.

Angel Pagan got things going atop the lineup, going 1 for 3 with two walks.

Brandon Belt continued his solid hitting, going 2 for 5. Melky Cabrera and Brandon Crawford also had two hits each.

But the star of the game was Ryan Vogelsong. He earned his 10th win of the season by limiting the Cardinals to no runs on three hits and three walks in seven innings. He left after 97 pitches and could have thrown more. But with the Giants up 10-0 in the top of the eighth, what was the point.

He lowered his league-leading ERA to 2.27. It was the kind of outing that makes you glad the Giants signed Vogelsong to a two-year deal prior to this season. It makes you feel even better that they added a team option for 2014.

Madison Bumgarner takes the mound Thursday afternoon against Adam Wainwright. If the Giants win, they’ll be sitting pretty with a two-game lead heading into the weekend series against the Rockies.

But even a one-game lead feels pretty good right now.

San Francisco Giants 4, St. Louis Cardinals 2: Barry Zito continues to be full of surprises

BOX SCORE

MONDAY BOX SCORE: St. Louis Cardinals 8, San Francisco Giants 2

There’s only one thing wrong with having Barry Zito follow Main Cain in the rotation.

When the Giants lose in a game started by Cain, they get Zito the next day.

Recently, that’s been happening more and more. It led to back-to-back losses to the Dodgers and then the Mets.

So optimism was not running high when the Giants took on the Cardinals Tuesday after Cain got knocked around by the Redbirds on Monday.

And then Zito did something he’s done a couple of times this season. He surprised us.

Just like he did in his first start of the season when he shut out the Rockies after a horrendous spring training.

Then came three consecutive losses to the Rangers, Astros and Angels in June, which was followed by seven shutout innings vs. the Dodgers.

He got whacked around pretty good by the Pirates in his final start before the All-Star Break. Then in his first post-break start, held the Braves scoreless for seven innings.

His most recent ugly streak included giving up 14 runs in 16.2 innings in his three most recent starts.

So what does he do Tuesday, limits the Cardinals to two runs — both on solo home runs by Allen Craig — on eight hits and NO WALKS over 6.2 innings.

He made Buster Posey’s three-run home run in the first inning stand up.

The victory was big because it allowed the Giants to lengthen their lead in the NL West over the Dodgers for the first time in a week. It’s the first time since before Zito’s ugly start agains the Dodgers on July 28 that the Giants’ lead was greater than one game.

It’s also a big win because it kept the hope of leaving St. Louis with at least a split of the four-game series more within reach. If the Giants do that, they will head home Friday guaranteed of remaining in first place.

It’s important to note because these games in St. Louis will be the Giants’ last road games against a non-divisional opponent with a winning record.

After this road trip, the Giants will have just 13 games against non-divisional foes — three at home vs. the Nationals, four at home vs. the Braves, three at Houston and three at Chicago.

Starting this weekend, the Dodgers embark on a 10-game road trip: three at Miami, four at Pittsburgh and three at Atlanta. And they still have three-game road series at Washington and Cincinnati later in September.

Oh, and the Cardinals travel to LA for a four-game set in mid-September to boot.

Starting Labor Day, the Giants will play entirely within the NL West.

San Francisco Giants 7, St. Louis Cardinals 5: Impostors take field for Giants, draw NINE walks, whiff twice

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Who were those guys, anyway?

Matt Cain is supposed to be the dependable shutdown starter for the Giants. Instead, he labored through six innings, giving up four runs on eight hits.

Since the Giants have given Cain an average of 3.67 runs of support over his career, giving up four runs is supposed to be a sure loss for Cain. But the Giants gave him five runs of support, then added two more for insurance.

The Giants scored seven runs, the first time they’ve scored more than five in a home game all season.

And finally, one day after striking out 11 times with no walks, the Giants walked a nine times and only whiffed twice (and one of those was by Cain). Yes, on Tuesday, the Giants walked 10 times, but struck out 11.

So again, we ask: Who were those guys?

  • Gregor Blanco continúes to perform well in the leadoff spot, drawing two walks. (A leadoff batter who takes pitches and draws walks? Who’s heard of such a thing? Not Giants fans who have endured the likes of Andres Torres, Aaron Rowand and even Cody Ross in the leadoff spot).
  • Brandon Crawford, hitting in the No. 2 hole, went 2 for 5 with a double and two RBI.
  • Buster Posey went 2 for 4 with a walk. His average is back up to .302.
  • Angel Pagan walked THREE times and went 1 for 2. Don’t look now but his average is up to .296.
  • Brandon Belt went 2 for 3 with two doubles and a walk.

Every Giant position player got a hit or drew a walk …. except for Charlie Culberson.

Yes the Giants were aided by some bumbling in the field by the Cardinals. But the Giants put themselves in position to take advantage of those errors by putting runners on base.

Did somebody talk to the Giants hitters about being more patient, more selective?

Did they finally listen?

I don’t know the answers to those questions, but I like the results. Let’s see if they can keep it up.

UP NEXT

Barry Zito, who now with Cain’s rough outing, leads Giants starters in ERA (2.35) will face the Oakland A’s and rookie Jarrod Parker at 7:15 p.m. Friday in the first leg of the Bay Bridge series. Ryan Vogelsong meets Tyson Ross on Saturday; and Tim Lincecum faces Bartolo Colon on Sunday.

St. Louis Cardinals 4, San Francisco Giants 1: Giants aren’t fit to be tied … for long

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Watching another Giants loss on Wednesday, I couldn’t help but feel like I had seen this before.

And I’m not talking about an offense that can’t score, especially at home. That Giants have not scored more than five runs in a game at home all season, and have only scored five runs twice (both day games).

And I’m not talking about wasting another solid performance from their starting pitcher.

And I’m not talking about listening to announcers talk about how efficient the opposing pitcher has been with his pitches.
I’m talking about letting a team reclaim the leader after the Giants manage to tie the game.

It seems I’ve seen that before. So I looked it up.

Thirteen times this season the Giants have come from behind to tie the game. In six of those occurences, the Giants have allowed their opponent to retake the lead IN THEIR VERY NEXT AT-BAT.

That’s almost a 50-50 proposition.

It happened again Wednesday. After the Cardinals scored in the first inning, Madison Bumgarner kept them off the board until the Giants pushed across the tying run with a Buster Posey RBI single in the sixth.

In the top of the seventh, Bumgarner got two quick outs, then gave up a solo home run to David Freese to left.

OTHER NOTES

  • The Madison Bumgarner batting eighth experiment was almost a push. MadBum had a single and a strikeout in three ABs. Emmanuel Burriss, in the No. 9 hole, had a single and two strikeouts in four ABs. I guess you can say MadBum had the better game.
  • Speaking of strikeouts, the Giants, who have the fewest strikeouts in the NL this season, struck out 11 times with ZERO walks. Cardinals starter Jaime Garcia, who is not known as a strikeout pitcher, fanned nine. This doesn’t have ANYTHING to do with the hitting coach?

UP NEXT

Matt Cain faces Adam Wainwright at 12:45 p.m. Thursday in the finale of the two-game series.

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