David J. Phillip/AP file photoThe Giants and Pablo Sandoval hope to take control of the NLCS in San Francisco.

Giants hoping to work home-field magic again

As the National League Championship Series shifts to pitcher-friendly AT&T Park, the Giants are out to protect their home field the same way they did the last time they played the St. Louis Cardinals in the playoffs.

Two years ago, St. Louis arrived in town leading the NLCS 3-2 before the Giants rallied to take the series on the way to their second championship in three years.

The teams meet again today in Game 3 with the series tied 1-1 after the Cardinals dramatically won Game 2 on Kolten Wong’s walk-off homer leading off the ninth inning against Giants reliever Sergio Romo.

That came a half-inning after Giants rookie Matt Duffy scored all the way from second base on a full-count wild pitch as Joe Panik drew a two-out walk.

Right-hander John Lackey, the Cardinals’ starter in Game 3, has pitched on the big October stage in San Francisco — albeit back in 2002 with the eventual champion wild-card Angels.

Reminded he intentionally walked home run king Barry Bonds four times, Lackey smiled and said: “Wouldn’t you? Geez.”

“No offense to anybody in their lineup but they don’t got Barry Bonds,” he said. “They have got a really good lineup.”

Giants right-hander Tim Hudson, who makes his LCS debut after a 16-year career, knows he will have to keep the Cardinals from clearing the fences.

“They are hot with the long ball, and that’s what beat us last night,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.

On Sunday, St. Louis became the first club to hit home runs in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings of a postseason game, according to STATS.

“That’s not necessarily how we’ve been winning games this season,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. “We’ll take it.”

Giants reliever Jean Machi tore the fingernail on his right pinkie playing catch during Monday’s workout but athletic trainer Dave Groeschner said, “all good.”

MLBSan Francisco GiantsSt. Louis CardinalsTim Hudson

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