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Place: AT&T Park, San Francisco, California
The San Francisco Giants look to complete their second historic comeback of the postseason when they face the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 7 of the National League Championship Series.
The Giants evened the series at three games apiece on Sunday with a 6-1 win behind seven strong innings from Ryan Vogelsong. San Francisco, which rallied from an 0-2 deficit to win the best-of-five NL Division Series, is seeking to become the seventh team to win an LCS after trailing 3-1 since the best-of-seven format was introduced in 1985.
The Giants have won five straight when facing possible elimination during this postseason, but their 0-5 record in best-of-7 deciding games is the worst in major-league history.
The defending World Series champion Cardinals have won six straight winner-take-all games, and they’re hoping to have left fielder Matt Holliday available after he missed Game 6 with a back spasms. St. Louis has struggled to generate much offense this series, scoring just one run in its past 20 innings.
The Cardinals’ defense has also been an issue, with several key errors contributing to an NLCS-record 10 unearned runs allowed. The Giants have outscored St. Louis 10-1 in the last two games, and Marco Scutaro is leading the attack. The veteran second baseman is batting .458 (11-for-24) with five runs scored in the series, but the Giants are still waiting for Hunter Pence to produce in the middle of the order.
Pence was 1-for-4 with three strikeouts on Sunday, and he’s 3-for-23 (.130) in the series. The Game 7 pitching matchup features the Giants’ Matt Cain against Kyle Lohse in a rematch of Game 3, when the Cardinals won 3-1.
PITCHING MATCHUP: Cardinals RH Kyle Lohse (1-0, 1.59 ERA) vs. Giants RH Matt Cain (0-1, 4.05)
Lohse will be looking to improve his control after allowing one run with five walks on 108 pitches over 5 2/3 innings in Game 3. Pence is 14-for-50 (.280) against Lohse, who is 2-0 with a 1.96 ERA in three starts this postseason. Lohse was 16-3 with a 2.86 ERA in 33 starts and a career-best 211 innings during the regular season, and he’s 3-2 with a 3.78 ERA in five career starts against the Giants.
Cain didn’t allow an unearned run over 21 1/3 innings in the 2010 playoffs during the Giants’ World Series run, but he hasn’t been quite as sharp during this postseason. He’s 1-2 with a 4.67 ERA in three starts after yielding three runs over 6 2/3 innings in Game 3.
Carlos Beltran is 7-for-19 with a home run against Cain, who is 2-3 with a 4.94 ERA in eight career starts against St. Louis.
1. The Giants are 5-1 when scoring four or more runs in the postseason and 1-4 when scoring three runs or fewer. San Francisco is also 5-1 when scoring first this postseason.
2. St. Louis OF Jon Jay is batting just .184 (9-for-49) this postseason after going hitless in four at-bats in Game 6.
3. Giants C Buster Posey went 0-for-4 on Sunday and is 3-for-22 (.136) with no extra base hits and six strikeouts in the series.