AT&T PARK — The San Francisco Giants completed their improbable postseason comeback tonight, defeating the St. Louis Cardinals 9-0 to win the National League Championship Series and propel themselves into the 2012 World Series to face the Tigers.
Once again, the Giants offense jumped all over the Cardinals’ starting pitcher. This time the victim was Kyle Lohse.
Angel Pagan and Marco Scutaro — who now boasts a new LCS record of six multi-hit games — led off the game with back-to-back singles. Pablo Sandoval grounded out to bring home Pagan to give the Giants an early 1-0 lead.
The Giants would add another run in the second inning on a Matt Cain single that scored Gregor Blanco. This is the third game in a row in which the Giants starting pitcher has helped their own cause with an RBI.
The Giants would put their foot on the gas in the third inning, never to look back. Scutaro — who currently has a 10-game postseason hitting streak — would get his second hit of the night to lead off the inning.
Sandoval followed it up with a double, and Buster Posey took a walk. With the bases loaded, Hunter Pence would hit a ball that bounced under the glove of Cardinals shortstop Pete Kozma and go for a two-RBI double.
Posey would score from first when Jon Jay bobbled the ball in centerfield. The Giants chased Lohse from the game after just two innings and five runs.
In a similar pattern, Brandon Belt would single and Blanco would take a walk to load the bases for Brandon Crawford. Crawford would ground into a fielder’s choice, scoring Pence from third and keeping the bases loaded.
Pagan would also bring home a run with a fielder’s choice, giving the Giants a seven-run lead. They would add one more run in the bottom of the seventh on a 4-6-3 double play ball by pinch-hitter Aubrey Huff, and another on a eighth-inning glory shot to right field by Brandon Belt.
As with Ryan Vogelsong and Barry Zito the previous two nights, the lead would prove more than enough for starter Matt Cain.
Though Cain allowed the lead-off batter to reach in the second and third innings, he was helped out by great defense. Both Blanco and Crawford would make great catches on balls that looked like hits off the bat.
Cain gutted through the Game 7 start, giving the Giants 5-2/3 innings of shutout baseball.
The bullpen efforts of Jeremy Affeldt, Santiago Casilla, Javier Lopez — and finally — Sergio Romo sealed the Giants’ second trip to the World Series in three years.
The Giants are now a perfect 6-0 in elimination games in this postseason. During the last three games — all must-wins — they never once trailed the Cardinals.
In fact, Giants pitching gave up only one run during those 27 innings, outscoring St. Louis 20-1.
The orange and black crowd of 43,056 were on their feet for much of the game, and as the Giants closed it out, the cheers could be heard echoing throughout the streets of San Francisco. After facing elimination six different times in this postseason, the Giants could once again shout those historic words:
“The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant!”