Giants blow past Cardinals in Game 7 of NLCS to advance to World Series

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The Giants have faced elimination six different times this postseason. Yet they are still standing.

Game 7 of the NLCS wasn’t much of a contest, as the Giants topped the Cardinals 9-0 at AT&T Park in San Francisco this evening to win the National League pennant and advance to the World Series against the Tigers.

The Giants are the seventh team to rally from a 3-1 deficit since the LCS expanded from five games to seven in 1985. Bruce Bochy’s squad have grown accustomed to playing with their backs against the wall this postseason, also rallying back from a 2-0 series deficit to beat the Reds during the NLDS.

The Giants took control of Game 7 early, scoring one run in the bottom of the first, one in the second and five in the third to chase Kyle Lohse and put the game out of reach. They tacked on one more in the seventh when Aubrey Huff grounded into a double play and another in the bottom of the eighth when Brandon Belt homered. Matt Cain clearly didn’t have his best stuff tonight, but he delivered 5 2/3 scoreless innings before Jeremy Affeldt, Santiago Casilla, Javier Lopez and Sergio Romo finished the Cardinals off.

The Giants pounded out 14 hits on the night, including one from each member of the starting lineup. Marco Scutaro went 3-for-4 with a walk and run scored and finished the series 14-for-28 (.500).

The Cardinals were just one win away from their second straight trip to the World Series after Game 4 last Thursday, but nearly everything went south at the same time. In addition to being outscored 20-1 over the final three games of the series, none of their starters (Lance Lynn, Chris Carpenter, Lohse) lasted longer than four innings. They also committed four errors and allowed seven unearned runs. The Cardinals allowed 10 unearned runs during the entire series, setting a new NLCS record.

The Giants will advance to face the Tigers in the World Series, which will begin Wednesday night in San Francisco. In an interesting twist, the Giants have All-Star Game MVP Melky Cabrera to thank for home field advantage.

Shelby Miller left Sunday’s start with forearm tightness

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Diamondbacks pitcher Shelby Miller left Sunday’s start against the Dodgers after four-plus innings due to tightness in his right forearm, the team announced. He’ll be reevaluated tomorrow. Needless to say, though, a forearm injury is very concerning. In his four innings, Miller gave up three runs on four hits and five walks with three strikeouts, raising his ERA to 4.09.

Miller, 26, has had a nightmare of a time since joining the Diamondbacks in December 2015. Last year, he made 20 starts and posted a 6.15 ERA. He suffered a finger injury suffered from scraping his hand on the pitcher’s mound with his follow-through, and he was also demoted to Triple-A during the summer as well.

Ivan Nova finally issued his first walk. It was to an AL pitcher taking his first major league at-bat.

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Pirates starter Ivan Nova has been outstanding in his first three starts of the 2017 season. He yielded only five earned runs in 20 innings for a tidy 2.25 ERA. But even more impressively, Nova didn’t issue a walk in any of those starts.

That changed on Sunday afternoon against the Yankees, but in a most peculiar way. Nova had struck out the side in the first inning, notched a 1-2-3 frame in the second, and got two quick ground outs to begin the third inning, bringing up Yankees pitcher Jordan Montgomery for his first major league at-bat. Montgomery never batted in the minor leagues, either, so Sunday’s AB against Nova was his first since his senior year of high school in 2011. Montgomery took the first two pitches for balls, then a called strike, a ball, and another called strike to even the count. Nova came in with his sixth consecutive fastball but it missed low, walking the Yankees’ pitcher for his first free pass of the 2017 season.

Nova got out of the inning without any further issue. He wound up going seven innings, giving up a lone run on four hits and a walk with seven strikeouts, lowering his ERA to an even 2.00.