MLB Playoffs: Vogelsong Leads San Francisco Into NLCS Tie

Ryan Vogelsong has to be enjoying these MLB playoffs. In his first start of the postseason, the veteran pitcher was brilliant in winning a pitcher’s duel in Cincinnati that kept the San Francisco season alive. The stakes weren’t quite as high last night, but they were close. The Giants were a loss away from going to St. Louis in an 0-2 hole in the NLCS and the veteran Cardinals weren’t as likely as the Reds to give up a series on their homefield. And Vogelsong’s opponent for the crucial Game 2 happened to be Chris Carpenter, no stranger to October heroics.

But it was Vogelsong who dominated. After giving up an early run—driven in by Carpenter—the Giants starter settled in and gave seven innings of one-run ball. Carpenter struggled. He only last four innings, gave up five runs and San Francisco rolled to a 7-1 win that evened up the National League Championship Series.

Angel Pagan, the San Fran centerfielder, got the offense going when he hit a leadoff home run in the bottom of the first. After Carpenter had tied it up, the Giants broke it open with four in the fourth. Officially, three of the runs were unearned, but it was Carpenter’s own throwing error that opened the floodgates. Marco Scutaro hit a two-out bases-loaded single that quickly scored two runs and then cleared the bases when Matt Holliday made an error in left.

St. Louis never got back into the game and took the opportunity to rest their best relievers. Offensively, only Carlos Beltran, who had two hits, did anything notable.

The health of Scutaro is a key question right now. He injured his hip when Holliday took him out on a double-play ball. The X-Rays came back negative, but he’ll still have an MRI before being cleared to play. For Scutaro’s sake, it’s good that the teams have today off to travel to the Midwest where the next three games will be played in St. Louis.

Detroit sends Justin Verlander to the mound in Game 3 of the American League Championship Series in what’s sure to a raucous Comerica Park in Detroit. The Tigers obviously couldn’t ask for anything more, but they need to step on the Yankees’ throat right now.

If New York wins tonight—and all they need to do is stay close, get Verlander out after seven and see if they can hit the bullpen—then C.C. Sabathia would get the ball tomorrow with a chance to even up the series. Its Phil Hughes the Yankees send to the mound tonight with their season close to being on line.