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.
The Sox’ winning streak ends at 11, thanks in part to Gary Sanchez continuing to hit like Barry Bonds or someone. Well, not quite Bonds, but his 20 homers in 49 games is ridiculous. I’d say “at some point pitchers need to stop giving him stuff to hit,” but this dude drove in a run when someone tried to intentionally walk him a week or two ago, so maybe there is nothing that can be done. In any event, Boston’s loss, along with the Blue Jays win, means that the AL East is not quite settled. It likely is practically, but not technically!
In other news, the Tigers pounded the Indians and their post-clinch, hungover lineup and, with the Orioles’ loss, pull a game closer in the Wild Card. The Mets pounded the Marlins who, one suspects, can only run on emotion so long and desperately want and ned to be with their loved ones to process this past week. The Cards and Giants both won as well, keeping the NL Wild Card at the status quo for another day: the Mets and Giants in, if the season ended today, the Cards one back.
Yankees 6, Red Sox 4
Nationals 4, Diamondbacks 2
Cubs 6, Pirates 4
Blue Jays 5, Orioles 1
Tigers 12, Indians 0
Braves 7, Phillies 6
Mets 12, Marlins 1
Royals 4, Twins 3
Rangers 6, Brewers 4
White Sox 13, Rays 6
Astros 8, Mariners 4
Cardinals 12, Reds 5
Angels 8, Athletics 1
Padres 7, Dodgers 1
Giants 12, Rockies 3
Cardinals shortstop Aledmys Diaz was childhood friends with Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, so it was expected when Diaz took time away from the team on Monday to visit Fernandez’s family in Miami. They grew up on the same street in Cuba and played for the same youth baseball team and both would ultimately wind up playing Major League Baseball in the United States.
In the bottom of the fourth inning of Tuesday night’s game against the Reds, Diaz hit a 2-1 Robert Stephenson fastball out to left-center field for a no-doubt grand slam. Teammate Yadier Molina gave Diaz a tight hug as he crossed home plate.
Before Tuesday’s game, Diaz said that the best way to honor Fernandez was to play with his passion, as MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch reports. Diaz said, “I only play for [Fernandez’s] family right now.”
Here’s the video.