Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Unearned Runs Costing Cardinals; Series Goes Distance despite Lack of 'Classic' Games; Cardinals Hurting Cause with Inconsistent Bats, Gloves; NLCS: CARDINALS VS GIANTS

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Unearned Runs Costing Cardinals; Series Goes Distance despite Lack of 'Classic' Games; Cardinals Hurting Cause with Inconsistent Bats, Gloves; NLCS: CARDINALS VS GIANTS

Article excerpt

SAN FRANCISCO - One club has won six elimination games in succession, four of them this year. The other has won five straight elimination games, all this year.

The Cardinals, the first-named club, and the San Francisco Giants, will meet in Game 7 of the National League championship series tonight at AT&T Park. One of them, for sure, will be eliminated, ending a streak.

Most seven-game series take on a classic quality about them at some point. But not this one. There hasn't been a one-run game. After Sunday night's 6-1 San Francisco win in Game 6, the runs difference between victory and defeat have been, in order, 2, 6, 2, 5, 5, 5.

The potential tying run has come to bat only once in the ninth inning for any team trailing.

For the Cardinals to win Game 7, they will have to have better starting pitching than they got from Chris Carpenter on Sunday, some form of hitting, but, perhaps, most important, they can't give runs away.

In six games, the Cardinals, who permitted only 45 unearned runs all season long, have yielded 10, all those coming in three games, actually, including three on Sunday night.

Third-base coach and infield instructor Jose Oquendo said 10 unearned runs "is a little too much. But we need to come out and swing the bat better and be more disciplined at the plate.

"We've been in these situations before. We need to sit back and think about what we need to do and come out swinging."

The three unearned runs given up on Sunday came via an error by rookie shortstop Pete Kozma, and there was another play by third baseman David Freese that wasn't made.

Losing pitcher Chris Carpenter walked Marco Scutaro, the Giants' best player in this series, with one out in the first and then Pablo Sandoval doubled over the head of Jon Jay in center.

Scutaro was stopped at third and the Cardinals were expected to walk dangerous Buster Posey with a base open.

But, after throwing ball one outside, Carpenter got Posey, who hadn't hurt the Cardinals in the series, to ground to Freese, who backhanded the ball near the third-base bag. But Freese appeared not to have a good grip on the ball and after looking home, where he would have had to throw over Scutaro, he took the sure out at first, conceding the run.

Freese said, "My instincts said, 'Go to first.' Scutaro was right in line, kind of inside the baseline. First inning. One run. I could have thrown it off his shoulder and it would turn into a four-run inning. My instinct was to get the out at first and limit the damage."

Brandon Belt, who had been hitting .148, tripled off the top of the right-field wall in the second but, with the infield in, Carpenter stiffened and fanned Gregor Blanco on a curveball.

Cardinals manager Mike Matheny ordered eighth-place hitter Brandon Crawford walked intentionally but the Giants got tricky.

Manager Bruce Bochy started Crawford on the first ptich to Vogelsong, who shortened to bunt and then swung away, hitting a roller toward short. …

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