Giants can’t claw back against Cards

Audio: Giants Manager Bruce Bochy post-game press conference

AT&T PARK — Madison Bumgarner dug a hole the Giants couldn’t climb out of Sunday night, as they lost to the St. Louis Cardinals 6-4 in Game 1 of the National League Championship Series.

Just like he did last weekend, Bumgarner struggled, lasting just 3-2/3 innings while giving up six runs.

Reigning World Series MVP David Freese got the Cardinals on the board with a two-run home run in the second inning. St. Louis would nail Bumgarner for four more runs in the top of the fourth on RBI singles by Pete Kozma and Jon Jay.

Clubhouse Audio: Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner

Carlos Beltran followed by blasting his third home run of this postseason, a two-run shot that gave St. Louis their final two runs.

Game 1 reeked of Games 1 and 2 of the Division Series, which the Giants lost at home, 5-2 and 9-0 to the Cincinnati Reds.

The Giants were hitless through the first three innings, once again plagued by the return of their offensive woes at home.

In the bottom of the fourth, though, the Giants’ bats finally came alive — and the orange rally rags came alive right along with them.

Second baseman Marco Scutaro led off the inning with a single, but was still standing on first base with two outs. Then Hunter Pence singled, and Brandon Belt drove Scutaro home with an RBI single.

Clubhouse Audio: Giants infielder Marco Scutaro

Gregor Blanco would clear the bases with a triple, and Brandon Crawford would double home Blanco. The Giants would score all four of their fourth innings runs with two outs.

With something to finally cheer about here at home this postseason, the 43,534 fans stood to their feet and remained there as No. 55 came jogging in from the bullpen.

With Bumgarner bounced from the game, Tim Lincecum once again came in to do some relief work. He pitched two scoreless innings, walking one and striking out one.

So far in this postseason, Lincecum has pitched 8-1/3 innings, giving up just one run with nine strikeouts.

Clubhouse Audio: Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum

George Kontos, Jeremy Affeldt, Santiago Casilla, and Jose Mijares shut out the Cardinals for the rest of the game.

While St. Louis starter Lance Lynn didn’t pitch well enough to get the win — also lasting just 3 2/3 innings and giving up four runs — it proved enough to keep his team in the game.

The Cardinal bullpen would take it from there, with six different pitchers combining to two-hit the Giants for the rest of the night.

With the Giants dropping Game 1 at home, Ryan Vogelsong looks to be the stopper once again. In game three of the Division Series — with the Giants facing elimination — Vogelsong pitched a gem, stubbornly allowing one run over five innings.

Vogelsong’s was the best start by a Giants pitcher this postseason, and he understands the importance of getting a win here at home in this series:

“We can’t get ourselves behind the 8 ball, so to speak, like we did last time and try and fight back on the road. It was tremendous that we did it once … But I think it’s important for us to play well here.”

Angel Pagan tried to spark a two-out, bottom of the ninth rally with his first hit of the game, but Scutaro’s grounder to first sealed defeat for the Giants.

Clubhouse Audio: Giants Angel Pagan