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The San Francisco Giants finally got an outstanding performance from one of their starting pitchers, as Ryan Vogelsong pitched seven fine innings to help beat the St. Louis Cardinals 7-1 in Game 2, evening the National League Championship Series.
Monday night in San Francisco, Ryan Vogelsong gave the Giants exactly what they needed: a well-pitched game against the St. Louis Cardinals. In the six postseason games before Monday, the Giants hadn't enjoyed a single Quality Start from one of their vaunted starting pitchers. In Game 2, Vogelsong gave them that and more; behind his solid seven innings, the Giants beat the Cardinals 7-1 to even the National League Championship Series at one game apiece.
In the first inning, though, Vogelsong got into a jam and things got a little rough at second base. Jon Jay led off with a drive to deep center field that Angel Pagan hauled in after a long run. Vogelsong walked Carlos Beltran, and Matt Holliday singled.
Uh-oh. Here we went again.
So, yeah: no double play. Later, Scutaro would retire from the proceedings, but not before exacting a bit of revenge.
Holliday's "slide" did keep Scutaro from turning the double play, but Vogelsong escaped any non-Scutaro damage by getting Yadier Molina on an easy grounder.
Angel Pagan led off the top of the first against Chris Carpenter, and blasted Carpenter's fourth pitch over the big wall in right field. Scutaro came up next and singled, but the Giants wouldn't score again in the inning. And in the top of the second, Carpenter himself evened the score with a double that knocked home Pete Kozma, who'd just drawn a two-out walk.
Vogelsong, though, would settle down. Carpenter would not. Not for long, anyway. After uneventful second and third innings, the Giants got to Carpenter in the fourth.
Hunter Pence led off and grounded out, but Brandon Belt doubled and Gregor Blanco singled, Belt stopping at third. Brandon Crawford came up and hit a little swinging bunt down the first-base line. With Belt sprinting home, Carpenter made an awkward throw toward first base that Allen Craig couldn't handle; all hands were safe, with Carpenter getting stuck with a tough error. Vogelsong sacrificed the runners over. And after Angel Pagan walked to load the bases, up came Scutaro ... who drove a single into left field; even better (for Scutaro and the Giants and the scales of Justice), Holliday let the ball get through his legs, which allowed an extra run to score.
That made it 5-1, and that's where it stayed for a while. Vogelsong didn't give up any more runs through the seventh inning, and the Cardinals' bullpen held the Giants scoreless until the ninth, when the home team tacked on a couple of insurance runs; Ryan Theriot, who replaced Scutaro in the sixth, knocked home both runs with a single.
In the ninth, Giants closer Sergio Romo gave up a leadoff single to Yadier Molina, but made quick work of the Cardinals from there, striking out Kozma to end the game and even the series.
For you trivia buffs, Vogelsong became the first Giants pitcher to hit a double in a postseason game since Diamond Jack Bentley doubled in the 1923 World Series.