Ryan Vogelsong pitches Giants to 6-1 Game 6 win over Cardinals

Ezra Shaw

The St. Louis Cardinals have seen plenty of San Francisco Giants right-hander Ryan Vogelsong.

In Game 2 of the National League Championship Series, Vogelsong pitched seven innings, and gave up only four hits and one run. The Giants won Game 2, 7-1.

In Game 6 of the National League Championship Series, Vogelsong pitched seven innings, and gave up only four hits and one run. The Giants won Game 6, 6-1.

There were some differences, though. For one, this time Vogelsong racked up nine strikeouts, one more than his previous career high. For another, the Giants had to win this game; lose it, and their season was over. But thanks largely to Vogelsong they won it, setting up a winner-take-all Game 7, scheduled for Monday night in San Francisco.

Meanwhile, Cardinals starter Chris Carpenter had a little symmetry going, too. In Game 2 of the NLCS, he went four innings, allowing five runs (two earned) on six hits and two walks. In Game 6 of the NLCS ... he had the exact same line.

Carpenter got into plenty of early trouble. With one out in the first inning, Marco Scutaro drew a walk, and went to third when Pablo Sandoval doubled to straightaway center field. And Scutaro scored the game's first run when Buster Posey grounded out to third base; David Freese thought about coming home to nail Scutaro, but couldn't get a good grip on the ball and instead threw out Posey at first base.

Things got worse for Carpenter in the second inning.

Brandon Belt led off with a triple off the right-field wall. After a strikeout, and with Vogelsong on deck, Carpenter gave Brandon Crawford an intentional free pass. Vogelsong spoiled the tactic, though; after squaring around for the apparent bunt, he pulled back the bat and poked a grounder toward shortstop, where Pete Kozma fumbled the ball, leaving all hands safe.

Carpenter recovered for a moment, striking out Ángel Pagán. But Marco Scutaro, as hot as anyone in this series, doubled home Crawford and Vogelsong, and then Pablo Sandoval snuck a ground-ball single into center field to score Scutaro. Carpenter retired Posey to end the inning, but four runs had scored. Three of those were unearned. The Cardinals have now given up 12 unearned runs in six games, a new National League Championship Series record.

The Giants wouldn't score again until they picked up a singleton in the eighth, but didn't need to. Vogelsong left after seven innings, but Jeremy Affeldt got two outs in the eighth, and then Santiago Casilla retired Allen Craig to end that frame. Sergio Romo came on the ninth, got Yadier Molina on a fly ball, struck out Freese, and got Daniel Descalso on an easy fly to center to end the game.

Which, by the way, marks the fifth straight postseason game the Giants needed to win, and did.

There's some talk about inclement weather Monday night. But whenever Game 7 is played, it will feature starting pitchers Matt Cain and Kyle Lohse. And for the winner, a trip to the World's Serious.

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