The San Francisco Giants exacted a measure of revenge on Monday night, not just for their 6-4 loss at the hands of the St. Louis Cardinals in Game One of the National League Championship Series, but also because of an incident in the first inning that saw second baseman Marco Scuatro get run over by Matt Holliday as the center fielder attempted to break up a double play.
Angel Pagan then led off the bottom half of the first with a solo home run, his second lead off homer of the playoffs. After the Cardinals equalized in the top half of the second with a Chris Carpenter double that drove in Pete Kozma, the Giants answered back in the fourth inning, putting up four runs, three of which were scored with two out on a Scutaro liner that Holliday fumbled in left field. The Giants tacked on two more in the bottom of the eighth on a barrage of singles from Aubrey Huff, Angel Pagan and Ryan Theriot (!).
Despite the offensive explosion for the Giants, the real story of the night was Ryan Vogelsong who had the best start by any San Francisco pitcher so far this postseason, going seven innings and only allowing a single run. He was picked up by Jeremy Affeldt and Sergio Romo, who combined to collect six outs from seven batters.
The Giants cruised to a 7-1 victory to even up the series at one win apiece. The two teams travel to St. Louis for Game Three on Wednesday.
The Win Expectancy Graph
The Most Important Play Of The Game
It might not have affected much in terms of the scoreline or even win probability added, but Matt Holliday’s slide into defenseless second baseman Marco Scutaro was all that anyone was talking about for the first half of the game. While the slide is within the (ridiculous) rules of the game and Holliday’s spikes weren’t pointed up, it was late and the runner appeared to aim his slide coming from the right of the bag, which is considered taboo. Of course, players are taught to do whatever they can (within the ridiculous rules) to break up the double play, and in this instance, Holliday was successful.
However, he didn’t get the last laugh.
In the fourth inning, with the bases loaded, and two out, Scutaro came to the plate to face Chris Carpetner. With a 1-1 count, he smacked a sinker into left center field. Holliday rushed over to the ball, tried to pick it up, but bobbled it, allowing all the runners on base to score, as Scutaro jogged into second base.
Scutaro’s hit, combined with Holliday’s bobble, made the score 5-1, increasing San Francisco’s win probability added by 20.5%.
Scutaro eventually left the game after the fifth inning, with a left hip injury that was sustained in the collision. He was replaced by Ryan Theriot, so maybe it was Holliday who laughed last, after all.
Update: X-rays came back negative.
GIFs courtesy of C.J. Fogler.
The Shamsky Award
Named after Art Shamsky, who single handedly increased the Cincinnati Reds’ chances of winning by 150.3% in a losing effort during a game in 1966, The Shamsky Award is given to the player on the losing team who contributes the most to them winning.
Carlos Beltran went two for three with two doubles and a walk. He increased his team’s WPA by 10% by getting on base three times. His slash line in the postseason over his career is pretty much three sideways eights.
The Things You Won’t Believe
With his double in the second inning, Chris Carpenter now has more hits in the post season than Robinson Cano of the New York Yankees.
Ryan Vogelsong also hit a double in the sixth inning. He was the first San Francisco Giants pitcher to hit a double in a postseason game since Jack Bentley in 1923. Vogelsong is also the first Giants starter to complete six innings this postseason. Somehow, they had managed to win three playoff games before today. It was the first time that the pitcher lasted seven innings since August 8th.
On Sunday night, the Cardinals put up four runs in the fourth inning when the next game’s starter, Chris Carpenter, joined the broadcast to speak with Joe Buck and Tim McCarver. On Monday night, the Giants put up four runs in the fourth inning when the next game’s starter, Matt Cain, joined the broadcast to speak with Joe Buck and Tim McCarver.
The St. Louis Cardinals system is ridiculously stacked:
Cards GM John Mozeliak told us before the game that minor leaguer Carlos Martinez has a better arm than all of their 98 mph arms in MLB
— JIM BOWDEN (@JimBowdenESPNxm) October 16, 2012
Tweets Of The Game
Having a lot of cognitive dissonance with “Ryan Vogelsong really looks good” and “Ryan Vogelsong gave up a double to Chris Carpenter”.
— Bill Baer (@CrashburnAlley) October 16, 2012
Whenever a player points to the sky, he’s saying hello to Nick Swisher’s grandmother. I think it’s very sweet.
— Dave Brown (@AnswerDave) October 16, 2012
Clearly Pablo Sandoval wipes his hands on his batting helmet after eating.
— Jeff Lackinghair (@FreeBald) October 16, 2012
Cardinals have #Natitude.
— Scott Lewis (@thescottlewis) October 16, 2012
The Aggravating Thing The San Francisco Giants Fan Did
The Aggravating Thing The Broadcast Booth Did
Tim McCarver confused the San Francisco Giants dugout with the dugout of the St. Louis Cardinals after Angel Pagan’s solo home run in the first inning. He suggested that Pagan saluted the Cardinals as he ran around third base. In reality the Giants center fielder was saluting his teammates as he always does whenever he gets on base or hits a home run.
Was it really necessary to show the Buster Posey injury from 2011?
The Aggravating Thing The Umpires Did
Gregor Blanco was not called out on this play.
The Giants scored their first run in the fourth inning thanks to back-to-back high chops from Gregor Blanco and Brandon Crawford, after Brandon Belt had doubled. I believe it’s time that the Baltimore Chop comes back into fashion in Major League Baseball.
It was nice to hear some credit get passed along to current Houston Astros General Manager Jeff Luhnow for the incredibly well-built St. Louis Cardinals, where he cut his teeth as the Vice President of Player Development for almost ten years.
Sergio Romo is a next level photo bomber.
Earlier this summer, I saw Shelby Miller get lit up by the Nashville Sounds. A few months later, he was striking out Buster Posey and Brandon Belt in the National League Championship Series.
There are a number of less stressful things to watch than Ryan Theriot’s path to an infield fly-ball.
Jon Jay made an incredible catch in center field in the eighth inning. I remember believing St. Louis to be idiots last season for trading away Colby Rasmus for so little.
Later in the eighth inning, Aubrey Huff hit a fly ball that drifted down the line and should have easily been caught by David Freese if hadn’t been distracted by the left field umpire Jerry Lane. Can we please get rid of outfield umpires? There’s no value added there whatsoever.
1. Ryan Vogelsong: The right-handed pitcher gave up a single run on four hits and two walks over seven innings, striking out four batters. After a shaky first two innings, in which Vogelsong did show off a harder than typical fastball, the Giants starter settled down into a rhythm, and produced the best start by a San Francisco pitcher this postseason.
2. Marco Scutaro: The Giants second baseman basically had to be dragged out of the game to receive x-rays on his injured hip, but beyond that, Scutaro went 2 for 3, driving in two runs for San Francisco.
3. Angel Pagan: The San Francisco center fielder went 2 for 4 with a home run, a key single and a walk. He scored twice and knocked himself in with his lead off homer. At one time it seemed unimaginable that the Giants would look to keep Pagan beyond this season, but he’s been incredible down the stretch and in the postseason.