Ryan Vogelsong pitches Giants past Cards and into a Game 7

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The Giants got to Chris Carpenter early and took advantage of one of the best performances of Ryan Vogelsong’s career to win 6-1 in Sunday night’s Game 6 and send the NLCS to a decisive Game 7 on Monday.

Vogelsong retired 14 of the first 15 batters he faced and struck out a career-high nine in his gem. He ended up allowing one run and four hits over seven innings.

The Giants got to Carpenter right away in the first, with Marco Scutaro walking, advancing to third on Pablo Sandoval’s double and then scoring on Buster Posey’s groundout.

The remaining four runs off Carpenter came in the second. Brandon Belt tripled to open the frame. Carpenter rebounded to strike out Gregor Blanco, but then the decision was made to walk Brandon Crawford ahead of Vogelsong, potentially setting up an inning-ending double play. Instead, shortstop Pete Kozma booted Vogelsong’s grounder, scoring a run and setting up the big inning. After Angel Pagan struck out, Scutaro and Sandoval both collected hits, resulting in three unearned runs for Carpenter.

Monday’s Game 7 will feature Kyle Lohse and Matt Cain in a rematch of Game 3. The Cardinals won that one, 3-1, in St. Louis. Lohse is 2-0 with a 1.96 ERA in his three postseason starts, while Cain is 1-2 with a 4.67 ERA.

Phillies owner John Middleton is in Las Vegas with Bryce Harper

Bryce Harper
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Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports that Phillies owner John Middleton flew to Las Vegas for a meeting with Bryce Harper on Friday. Per ESPN’s Jeff Passan, it’s “more of a meet-and-greet than a sign-a-deal” affair, but as the club is still at the forefront of trade rumors involving the All-Star slugger, there remains a possibility (however slight) that something could be completed in the days to come.

Even now, the Phillies aren’t alone in the race to sign Harper, but recent rumors have helped whittle down the competition from five or more teams (Phillies, Nationals, White Sox, Giants, and Padres) to three strong contenders. The Giants are said to be interested in a lucrative short-term deal with the outfielder, while the Padres remain in the conversation despite inking Manny Machado to a mammoth 10-year, $300 million contract this week. It’s not yet clear just how far either team would go to outbid Philadelphia as talks with Harper intensify.

As for the Nationals and White Sox, the former officially bowed out earlier today, and MLB Network’s Jon Heyman adds that the latter won’t make a strong play for Harper as they feel the asking price and competing offers are “getting too high” for the 26-year-old’s services. If a mystery team is still in the mix, there’s been no word on their standing with Harper in the last month or so.