Ryan Vogelsong notched his first career postseason win Monday providing exactly what the Giants needed: a quality start.
Vogelsong (1-0) threw seven strong innings, allowing four hits and a run en route to a 7-1 Giants win over the St. Louis Cardinals at AT&T Park, tying the best-of-seven NL Championship Series at one game a piece.
“The last thing we wanted to do was go into St. Louis down two games,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.
“[Vogelsong] came through for us in two ways: he won the game for us, but he got us deep in the game — he got us a quality start, which we needed sorely.”
Prior to Vogelsong’s outing, the Giants hadn’t received six full innings from a starting pitcher in six postseason games.
But Game 2 wasn’t all good news. Second baseman Marco Scutaro left the game after five innings with an injured left hip. Scutaro was hobbled in the top of the first inning when Cardinals left fielder Matt Holliday took him out with a late, hard slide into second base while breaking up a double play.
“I really think they got away with an illegal slide there,” Bochy said. “[Holliday] probably didn’t hit dirt until he was past the bag and Marco was behind the bag and got smoked. It’s a shame somebody got hurt because of this.”
Bochy said Scutaro underwent X-rays after he was removed and they came back negative. He said the veteran infielder is likely to receive an MRI today.
But Scutaro came through with the game’s biggest hit while he was still in the lineup in the bottom of the fourth inning. With the Giants leading 2-1, Scutaro delivered a bases-loaded single with two outs, scoring three runs.
Scutaro was 2-for-3 with two RBIs (Holliday was charged with an error on the play) before Ryan Theriot replaced him at second base in the sixth.
“He was hurting,” Bochy said. “You could see him hobbling a little bit and yet he goes out there and gets a big hit.”
The Giants had a tough assignment Monday going against Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter who entered the game with second-highest postseason winning percentage (.800) in the history of Major League Baseball (minimum 10 starts).
But the Orange and Black snatched their first home lead of the playoffs right out of the gates when Angel Pagan put on his best Rickey Henderson impression by leading off with a home run. In doing so, Pagan became only the second player to lead off two games in same postseason with a home run (Jimmy Rollins, 2008).
The Cardinals answered Pagan’s homer in the top of the second when Carpenter smacked a two-out double that scored shortstop Pete Kozma. But Vogelsong shut the door from that point forward, retiring 16 of the last 19 batters he faced.
“Hopefully this starts a trend of our starters starting to pitch better and get deeper into games,” Vogelsong said.