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Place: Busch Stadium, St. Louis, Missouri
The San Francisco Giants evened the National League Championship Series against the St. Louis Cardinals at one game apiece Monday, with the tone of the series changing dramatically after Matt Holliday’s hard slide into second baseman Marco Scutaro in the first inning.
Scutaro stayed in the game and hit a bases-clearing single in the fourth inning before leaving in the fifth for X-rays on his left hip, which were negative. The aggressive slide appeared to ignite the Giants, who went on to snap a three-game postseason home losing streak with the 7-1 victory.
If Scutaro is forced to miss any time, former Cardinals infielder Ryan Theriot would start at second base. Theriot is 12-for-22 lifetime against Kyle Lohse, St. Louis’ Game 3 starter.
The Cardinals are looking for more consistency as they head back to St. Louis. They’ve had only 11 hits in three playoff losses while scoring 41 runs in their five wins. Right fielder Carlos Beltran hit two doubles in three at-bats Monday for his 13th career multihit postseason game, and he is 12-for-29 (.414) this postseason.
Holliday appeared rattled after his slide in the first inning, going hitless in his next three at-bats and committing a critical error in the fourth.
The Cardinals’ bullpen has been outstanding during the playoffs, but has worked 34 innings in eight games. Ryan Vogelsong gave the Giants’ bullpen some much-needed rest when he tossed seven strong innings in Game 2.
PITCHING MATCHUP: Giants RH Matt Cain (1-1, 5.06 ERA) vs. Cardinals RH Kyle Lohse (1-0, 2.13)
Cain is seeking his first quality outing of the postseason after failing to escape the sixth inning in his previous two starts. He is 2-3 with a 4.94 ERA in eight career starts against the Cardinals, including 1-1 with a 6.94 ERA in two outings this season.
Holliday is 8-for-40 with 10 strikeouts against Cain, who will be pitching on five days’ rest. When starting on five days’ rest this season, Cain lost only once in 12 outings while posting a 2.42 ERA.
Lohse has allowed two runs on eight hits over 12 2/3 innings in two starts this postseason, including Game 4 of the NL Division Series against Washington when he yielded one run over seven frames.
Lohse led the Cardinals in starts and innings during the regular season, and he was 8-1 in 16 home starts with a 2.33 ERA. He’s 3-2 with a 3.78 ERA in five career starts against the Giants, who are set to face him for the first time this season.
1. In the last five postseason games, the Giants’ bullpen has allowed two earned runs on 13 hits, with 19 strikeouts in 22 innings, for a 0.82 ERA.
2. National League teams are 3-10 at home during this postseason.
3. Giants RHP Tim Lincecum is expected to make his first start of the postseason in Game 4 after allowing one run on three hits with nine strikeouts in three relief appearances.