By: Malaika Bobino
San Francisco, CA – One way to get the crowd into the game is to score runs or lose a player to an injury. Matt Holiday became the most hated player at AT&T Park. After sliding hard into Marco Scutaro, Holiday got booed every time he came to the plate.
But the best revenge is sweet victory. Scutaro helped San Francisco tied the National League Championship series with a 7-1 win over the St. Louis Cardinals. Marco hit a three-run single in the fourth frame and the Giants never looked back.
“Early runs in this game, in the postseason, are very important,” Angel Pagan said. “We put one on the board, they tie it up and then we put up a few more in the fourth. That was the key for us to win tonight.”
The questionable play was when Matt singled on a line drive to left field. Allen Craig followed grounding into a force out, Holiday was late while sliding hard into Scutaro at second for the out. After having his legs taken out right under him, Marco took awhile to get back on his feet.
He left the game after the fifth with progressive soreness in his left hip. Though he did not want to be pulled from the game, Scutaro had X-Rays done that came back negative, he did not return. Ryan Theriot replaced him at second base and contributed a two-run single in the eighth.
“That shows you how tough he is,” said manager Bruce Bochy. “I really think they got away with an illegal slide there. That rule was changed a while back. And he really didn’t hit dirt until he was past the bag. Marco was behind the bag and got smoked. It’s a shame somebody got hurt because of this. That’s more of a road block for us now.”
“As I watched it live, it looked like a hard slide,” manager Mike Matheny said. “It didn’t go out of the baseline to get him. Once again, I haven’t looked at it but we teach our guys to go hard. Play the game clean, play it hard, not try and hurt anybody. And I hated to see that end up that way. That’s not how we play the game, but we do go hard. But within the rules.”
San Francisco needed a win at home, they started the game off with a leadoff home run from Pagan. His second in the postseason, he and Jimmy Rollins are the only two players in Major League history to hit leadoff home runs in a single postseason.
Another first this postseason was Ryan Vogelsong lasting seven innings. It’s been the achilles heel for the Giants staring pitchers to last more than four frames. But tonight, that changed and hopeful will be the beginning of a trend.
“We’ve obviously had some rough starts this postseason,” said Vogelsong. “But guys are still throwing the ball well. It was something that I really didn’t think about going into the game because there’s enough pressure and thoughts going though your mind other than thinking about trying to make it past the sixth inning.”
That bats were alive for San Francisco, with the bases loaded in the eighth Ryan Theriot who batted for Scutaro hit a two-run RBI single to extend the lead 7-1 and secured their win. The former Cardinal whose been on the sideline showed no rust in getting on base.
“You take batting practice and ground balls more seriously when your not playing everyday,” Theriot said. “And that’s the time when you’ve got to stay sharp. During the game, I just try to stay loose and stay ready.”
The four run inning ended St. Louis pitcher Chris Carpenter’s night. It also forced a bullpen that was stellar the night before to struggle the rest of the way as the Giants offense stayed hot. The series now tied will head back to the midwest for the next three games.
“It definitely didn’t go in the direction I wanted it to go, I can tell you that,” Carpenter said. “My command has continued to get better as my starts have gone, but tonight it was not there. I wasn’t very sharp.”