Freese, Beltran homer as Cards down Giants in NLCS Game 1
San Francisco, CA, United States (4E Sports) – David Freese and Carlos Beltran each ripped two-run shots and the bullpen stood its ground after a rocky start by Lance Lynn as the St. Louis Cardinals opened the National League Championship Series with a 6-4 victory over the San Francisco Giants Sunday at AT&T Park.
Freese’s two-run shot in the second frame delivered the game’s first salvo and the Cardinals added four more runs in the fourth behind a two-run homer by Beltran and RBI singles by Pete Kozma and Jon Jay, all against Giants starter Madison Bumgarner (0-1).
The Giants then unleashed their own version of a four-run fourth frame behind a two-run triple by Gregor Blanco, an RBI single by Brandon Belt and a run-scoring double by Brandon Crawford against Lynn, who lasted just 3 2/3 innings with four earned runs on five hits with three strikeouts.
Then, the Cardinals’ relievers composed of Joe Kelly, Marc Rzepczynski, Trevor Rosenthal , Edward Mujica, Mitchell Boggs and Jason Motte took over, holding the Giants scoreless in the ensuing innings to protect a two-run lead until the end.
“We’ve got a good bullpen, a strong bullpen, and we have to be ready. We have to be ready in different situations, no matter what situations. If the starters go four or five, just try to pick them up,” said Mujica, who earned the win after pitching a scoreless seventh before handing the ball to Boggs.
Boggs then pitched a scoreless eighth and Motte wrapped up the win with a scoreless ninth for his first postseason save.
“It’s contagious,” Motte said of the bullpen’s success. “Just like over the first couple of innings, the hitting was contagious.”
Like Lynn, Bumgarner also lasted just 3 2/3 innings, allowing six earned runs on eight hits with two strikeouts.
“The last few starts I haven’t had a whole lot of life on the ball. At the same time, you have to find a way to make pitches,” said Bumgarner. When my stuff might not be as sharp, I have to get it where it’s supposed to go. I’m just missing over the plate a little bit.”
The Giants try to avoid a 0-2 hole, like what happened to them against the Cincinnati Reds, by starting Ryan Vogelsong against Chris Carpenter Monday.
“What happened in the last series, we’re not going to go back there. We’re going to come out tomorrow and play hard,” said Giants center fielder Angel Pagan.