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National League Championship Series Recap: Comeback Kids strike again

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Marco Scutaro slides home to score in the first inning of Game 6 against the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Championship Series.

A look back at the National League Championship series between the San Francisco Giants and the St. Louis Cardinals.

Game 1
Cardinals 6, Giants 4

The Cardinals came into AT&T Park brimming with confidence after coming from behind against the Washington Nationals for an NLCS berth and didn’t waste time attacking Giants lefty Madison Bumgarner. Bumgarner surrendered six runs in 3²?³ innings, including two-run homers by David Freese and ex-Giant Carlos Beltran. The Giants began to claw back in the fourth inning, putting together a four-run rally, but couldn’t close the gap.

Game 2
Giants 7, Cardinals 1

The Giants came back determined, and making a statement in the first inning was Angel Pagan with a lead-off home run against Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter. Later in the first inning, Matt Holliday took out Giants second baseman Marco Scutaro with a controversial late slide to break up a double play. But it was Scutaro who had the last laugh and the big hit for the Giants. In the fourth inning Scutaro hit a bases-loaded single that ended up scoring three runners, when Holliday booted the ball in left field, pushing the score to 5-1. Ryan Vogelsong kept the Cardinals at bay, allowing one run on four hits over seven innings.

Game 3
Cardinals 3, Giants 1

The series moved to St. Louis, with Matt Cain looking to give the Giants the series edge. The big blow of the game came off the bat of Matt Carpenter, who came in to replace Carlos Beltran after an ailing knee forced him to exit early. Carpenter entered the game 4-for-4 against Cain in his career, and pushed the Cardinals ahead for good with a two-run homer in the third inning to make it 2-1. The game was delayed 3½ hours by rain.

Game 4
Cardinals 8, Giants 3

After pitching so well out of the bullpen, Tim Lincecum was given the start in Game 4, only to get knocked around by the St. Louis offense. The Cardinals were firing on all cylinders, with their one-through-eight hitters all recording a hit. John Jay, Matt Holliday and Yadier Molina all contributed a pair of RBIs, and the postseason began to look bleak for the Giants. Only two teams had ever come back from a 3-1 deficit in the NL Championship Series.

Game 5
Giants 5, Cardinals 0

Facing elimination for the second straight series, the Giants needed Barry Zito to deliver a career-defining performance to send the series back to San Francisco. And Zito delivered in style, tossing
7²?³ shutout innings while striking out six Cardinals batters. The Giants roughed up St. Louis starter Lance Lynn for four runs in the fourth inning and Pablo Sandoval added a solo home run as insurance in the eighth.

Game 6
Giants 6, Cardinals 1

Giants second baseman Marco Scutaro continued his torrid NLCS by collecting two hits, scoring two runs and driving in two runs as the Giants jumped out to a 5-0 early lead after two innings in part to a costly Cardinals error. Ryan Vogelsong was dynamic once again on the mound, holding the Cardinals to just four hits and one earned run in seven innings, while striking out nine. Pablo Sandoval and Brandon Belt also had multiple-hit games.

Game 7
Giants 9, Cardinals 0

The Giants made sure they took the wind out of the Cardinals’ sails early in the deciding game, striking for seven runs in the first three innings and never looking back. Matt Cain closed out his second straight series with a solid performance on the mound. At the plate, the Giants pounded out 14 hits, led by NLCS MVP Marco Scutaro’s three hits, which allowed Scutaro to finish the seven-game series an astounding 14-for-28.

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