The Giants likely would have been thrilled if Barry Zito made it through five innings tonight while keeping the team in the game, but he has exceeded all expectations by holding the Cardinals scoreless through seven innings.
Zito has allowed just five hits and one walk (which was intentional) while striking out five. The southpaw got off to a bit of a shaky start in the first two innings, but retired 11 in a row until a two-out single by Daniel Descalso in the seventh. He’s at 99 pitches through seven, but will get a chance to start the eighth inning at the very least. If the Giants can hold on, Zito will have his first postseason win since Game 1 of the 2006 ALDS against the Twins.
Pablo Sandoval just tacked on a solo homer against Mitchell Boggs, so the Giants currently lead this one 5-0 going into the bottom of the eighth.
The Dodgers only need one more win to clinch the NL pennant and advance to a World Series showdown against the Red Sox, but they might not get that chance tonight. Following David Freese‘s leadoff home run off of Milwaukee left-hander Wade Miley, the Brewers erupted for four runs in the bottom of the first inning to take the lead.
In his second start of the NLCS, Dodgers’ southpaw Hyun-Jin Ryu had a two-on, two-out situation when Jesus Aguilar came up to the plate in the first inning. Aguilar worked a 2-1 count against Ryu, then lashed a two-run line drive double to right field, bringing both Lorenzo Cain and Ryan Braun home to score. In the next at-bat, Mike Moustakas drove in Aguilar with a first-pitch double to right, while Erik Kratz‘s RBI single topped off the Brewers’ four-run spread to give them an early 4-1 advantage.
Ryu didn’t get a reprieve for long. In the second, Christian Yelich and Braun went back-to-back with another pair of doubles to advance the Brewers 5-1 above their National League rivals. The lefty was pulled after just three innings of seven-hit, five-run, three-strikeout ball — per MLB.com’s Bill Shaikin, it marked just the second time the 31-year-old had given up four or more runs in a start this season.
The Dodgers started to work their way back in the fifth inning: Freese returned with an RBI double that plated Brian Dozier, who scooted around from first and easily beat the tag at the plate to score the Dodgers’ second run of the night. Together, the teams have combined for five doubles in five innings. The Brewers still lead in the fifth, 5-2.