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Giants stand up to Cardinals to knot NLCS

Press Conference Audio: Giants Manager Bruce Bochy

AT&T PARK — A much-needed rock-solid postseason pitching performance by Ryan Vogelsong stymied the St. Louis Cardinals Monday night, as the Giants knotted up the National League Championship Series with a 7-1 win.

The Giants offense wasted no time in doing something it hadn’t done yet in October – lead in a game at home.

Angel Pagan led off the bottom of the first with his second home run of the playoffs. Pagan became just the second player in baseball history to hit two leadoff home runs in a single postseason. (Jimmy Rollins in 2008 was the first.)

Clubhouse Audio: Giants outfielder Angel Pagan

The Cardinals would get their only run in the top of the second inning on an RBI double by pitcher Chris Carpenter.

For the second night in a row, the Giants would jump all over Cardinals pitching in the fourth inning. With one out, Brandon Belt doubled, and Gregor Blanco followed it up with an infield single.

Brandon Crawford would bring Belt home on a throwing error by Chris Carpenter to give the Giants a 2-1 lead. Pagan walked to load the bases, bringing to the plate Marco Scutaro.

Earlier, in the top of the first, Matt Holliday slid late into second base — and second baseman Scutaro — to break up a double play. Scutaro would later leave the game in the fifth with a hip injury, but he stayed in long enough to give the Giants their biggest hit of the series – a two-out, two-run single to left field.

Poetically, Matt Holliday would bobble the ball, allowing Pagan to score from first base and Scutaro to move to second.

Pablo Sandoval would ground out to end the inning, but the damage was done, as the Giants once again scored four runs in the fourth inning. However — unlike last night — this time it would be enough.

Ryan Vogelsong got all the run support he would need, as he provided the Giants with another first for this postseason – the first starting pitcher to last more than five innings.

Press Conference Audio: Giants pitcher Ryan Vogelsong and Giants infielder Ryan Theriot

Before the game tonight, manager Bruce Bochy said of his starting pitchers this postseason:

“Ideally, if you talk to any manager, they would want that starter going seven or eight innings… it would make life easier. But it hasn’t happened.”

In only his second career postseason start, Vogelsong would last seven innings, giving up just four hits and one run. He’s given up just two runs during these playoffs, while striking out nine.

Vogelsong left the mount to a standing ovation and a crowd of 42,679 chanting:

“Vogey! Vogey!”

The Giants would add two more insurance runs in the bottom of the eight on a two-run single by Ryan Theriot, who was in the game to replace the injured Scutaro. This night, however, belonged to Ryan Vogelsong.

Earlier this week, Vogelsong admitted to feeding off the energy of the crowd here in San Francisco. Tonight, the crowd fed off of him as well, as he gave them another something to cheer for: The Giants’ first win at home in this postseason.

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