Two teams familiar with historic comebacks in the playoffs meet Sunday night in Game 1 of the NLCS.
By B.J. RAINSFS Midwest
A pair of teams familiar with making historic comebacks will meet Sunday night in San Francisco when the Cardinals and
Giants play Game 1 of the National League Championship Series at AT&T Park.
The Cardinals reached the NLCS by overcoming a 6-0 deficit in Friday's Game 5 in Washington, scoring four runs in the ninth inning to complete the biggest comeback in a winner-take-all game in baseball history.
The Giants made history themselves, becoming the first National League team to overcome an 2-0 deficit and win a Division Series. Their comeback was more impressive because they lost the first two games in San Francisco before winning three in row in Cincinnati to stun the Reds.
This NLCS features the last two World Series winners and figures to be evenly matched. Both rely on strong starting pitching and solid bullpens while the Cardinals have the edge offensively.
The Giants and Cards met six times during the regular season with each winning three games apiece.
May 16 at AT&T Park — Cardinals 4, Giants 1
Jaime Garcia struck out nine and yielded just one run in 7 1/3 innings, while David Freese hit a tiebreaking solo homer in the seventh inning to help the visiting Cardinals win the opener of a short two-game series. Skip Schumaker added a pinch-hit, two-run double in the eighth off Giants starter Madison Bumgarner, who allowed just one run until the seventh inning.
May 17 at AT&T Park — Giants 7, Cardinals 5
The Cardinals jumped on Giants ace Matt Cain for four runs in the first three innings but committed three errors that led to three unearned runs. Leading 4-3 thanks a two-run homer by Matt Holliday, the Cardinals gave up two runs in the sixth and two in the seventh.
Aug. 6 at Busch Stadium — Cardinals 8, Giants 2
Jon Jay had four hits, Carlos Beltran homered, Matt Carpenter had a huge two-run, pinch-hit single off Cain in the sixth inning and the Cardinals used a strong outing from Jake Westbrook to win the first game of a four-game series in St. Louis. Westbrook allowed two runs in six innings and the Cardinals — again — roughed up Cain for five runs on eight hits in 5 2/3 innings.
Aug. 7 at Busch Stadium — Giants 4, Cardinals 2
Lance Lynn gave up a three-run homer to Buster Posey in the first inning and lefty Barry Zito shut down the Cardinals in a 4-2 win for the visitors. Allen Craig hit two solo home runs off Zito, who allowed just two earned runs in 6 2/3 innings. Lynn finished with four earned runs in six innings, dropping to 13-5 on the season.
Aug. 8 at Busch Stadium — Giants 15, Cardinals 0
A Tyler Greene error opened the door for a Giants' five-run sixth inning — San Francisco already led 3-0 — and the Giants added four in the eighth and four in the ninth to hand the Cardinals their third worst shutout loss in franchise history. The Cardinals mustered just four hits for the game. Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong yielded just three hits in seven innings. Greene was traded to the Houston Astros the next morning.
Aug. 9 at Busch Stadium — Cardinals 3, Giants 1
Adam Wainwright allowed just one run in seven innings and Beltran's two-run homer in the first inning proved to be enough for the Cardinals, who evened up the season series with San Francisco in their final meeting. Craig added an insurance run with a sacrifice fly in the sixth and Jason Motte finished it off for his 25th save.