2012 NLCS Game 6 Recap
The legend of Chris Carpenter preceded him going into game six. His performance in clinching games is second to none. The man who pulled off the miracle of defying season ending surgery would again be called on to close this NLCS down and get the Cardinals back to St. Louis a day early. Sadly, history is just that, and a vintage performance from the Cards menacing pitcher was not to be had.
The trouble started right away in the bottom of the 1st. After putting away Pagan on an infield fly, little would go right for Carpenter for the next two innings. The rest of the bottom of the first consisted of a walk to Scutaro, a double to Sandoval, and a sac grounder from Posey to score Scutaro. That first frame provided nothing that Cardinals fans would panic about. Carpenter had let a run or two go early and recovered.
The bottom of the 2nd wasn’t much better. Allowing a leadoff triple to Belt, Carpenter struck out Blanco, and gave the intentional pass to Crawford – two on with one out. Kozma didn’t help matters when he fumbled a grounder from Vogelsong. That allowed Belt to score and a runner (Crawford) at first with no outs. Carpenter then allowed a Scutaro double scoring Vogelsong and Crawford. After another ground ball hit from Sandoval scoring Scutaro, the Cardinals found themselves down by five.
Readers might now by feeling a flashback to a handful of other games where the starter was left in too long. While that might be correct assessment, Carpenter did go on to give the Cardinals two drama free innings. One might forgive Mike Matheny for being hesitant to pull Carp since the Cardinals bats proved completely ineffective against Giants’ starter Vogelsong. That lasted until the top of the fifth when the usual suspects, Descalso and Kozma had back to back hits to end the no-hit bid. It wasn’t until the top of the 5th, when a Beltran double and a Craig single would give the Cards their first, and only, run.
The Cardinals bullpen was solid until the bottom of the 8th. After Salas struck out Pence, Rzepczynski was brought in. He allowed a Belt single, a walk to Crawford, and a hit to Theriot scoring the sixth Giants’ run and erasing the Cardinals lone assault mounted back in the 6th.
The Cards went quietly into the night in the top of the 9th. They’d taken the short road to the World Series, and made it into the longest winding road they possibly could, a full seven games. Of comfort to Giants fans, and what should alarm Cardinals fans – the Giants have been here before just last week. The Cardinals will put Lohse on the mound Monday for game seven and will have most of the pen well rested. All of that is well and good, but if Cardinals’ bats aren’t brought to the ballpark, it will all be for nothing.