October 13, 2014

NLCS 2: Cardinals 5, Giants 4

Giants    - 000 011 101 - 4 10  0
Cardinals - 001 100 111 - 5  8  0
Kolten Wong lined a 0-1 changeup from Sergio Romo over the right field fence, giving St. Louis a dramatic win and evening the NLCS at 1-1.

Wong's dong brightened the mood at Busch Stadium considerably, as the Giants had only moments before tied the game off closer Trevor Rosenthal when pinch-runner Matt Duffy scored from second base on a wild pitch. Seth Maness relieved Rosenthal (who allowed two singles and walked two other batters) with the bases loaded and retired Pablo Sandoval on a comebacker to the mound.

The Cardinals took a 2-0 lead on Jake Peavy (4-4-2-3-2, 76) by scoring single runs in the third (a home run by Matt Carpenter) and fourth (Randal's Grichuk RBI single). St. Louis, up 2-0, had a chance to bury Peavy and the Giants in the fourth, as they had the bases loaded and only one out. But pitcher Lance Lynn flied to right (too shallow for Jhonny Peralta to tag from third) and Carpenter popped to shallow left-center.

The Giants came back to take a 3-2 lead, scoring in three consecutive innings. Brandon Belt opened the fifth with a line single to right-center. Travis Ishikawa's line drive to the gap in left-center was caught by a diving Jon Jay, but the ball popped loose as he hit the ground. Ishikawa had a double and San Francisco had runners at second and third. Pinch-hitter Joaquin Arias then grounded to second, bringing Belt home.

Lynn struck out the first two batters in the sixth, but Pablo Sandoval's fly ball down the left field line landed about three inches fair - and out of reach of Matt Holliday - and bounced into the stands for a ground-rule double. Hunter Pence lined a full-count pitch to right-center, scoring Panda and knotting the game at 2-2. The Giants took the lead in the seventh as Brandon Crawford walked, took second on a passed ball, stayed put on Michael Morse's infield single to the shortstop hole, and scored on Gregor Blanco's single through the right side of the Cardinals' infield.

Then it was the Cardinals' turn to rally - and they did it with solo home runs. Pinch-hitter Oscar Taveras cranked a shot down the right field line with one down in the seventh. That tied the game at 3-3. Matt Adams crushed a fastball to deep right off Hunter Strickland to give the Cards a one-run lead in the eighth. (Strickland is the first rookie pitcher in MLB history to allow three home runs in a single postseason.)

In the top of the ninth, Rosenthal fell behind Crawford 3-0, but rebounded to strike him out. Pinch-hitter Andrew Susac lined a single to center; Duffy went in as a pinch-runner. Juan Perez chopped the first pitch he saw up the middle for another hit and the Giants had runners at first and second. Rosenthal and the Cardinals got a break when Blanco lined out to shortstop (Peralta leapt up and to his right to snare the ball), putting the Cardinals one out from victory. Rosenthal got ahead of Joe Panik 0-2, but ended up walking him, with Panik taking two close pitches for balls 1 and 2. The fourth ball to Panik was the wild pitch that scored Duffy. After a visit to the mound, Rosenthal walked Buster Posey to load the bases. Maness came in and retired Sandoval on the grounder to the mpound.

And then Wong, after looking at a called strike, won it with his shot to right leading off the bottom of the ninth.

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