The Cardinals didn't need David Freese, Daniel Descalso or Pete Kozma to deliver cl..."/> The Cardinals didn't need David Freese, Daniel Descalso or Pete Kozma to deliver cl..."/>

Giants Blow Golden Opportunity, Fall Behind Cardinals Yet Again With Crushing Defeat


The Cardinals didn’t need David Freese, Daniel Descalso or Pete Kozma to deliver clutch ninth inning hits in Game 3.

That seems to be the way they roll; winning tight playoff games and always finding a way to win. But in Game 3, they didn’t need to do that. Yet they still managed to deflate the Giants.

Kyle Lohse and the Cardinals bullpen combined to twirl a gem, allowing one run in nine innings while fighting out of numerous jams. Jason Motte was called upon for a six-out save, and the Giants helped him out by failing to work the count, as Motte easily stayed under 20 pitches.

San Francisco got to Lohse and Edward Mujica, who dominated in Game 1. However, they couldn’t get to Motte, Trevor Rosenthal or Mitchell Boggs, and all three helped St Louis win. The pitching was great, but they wouldn’t have won without some hitting.

And, they got one huge swing of the bat from a very unlikely candidate.

Matt Carpenter drove a low offering from Cain over the fence in right field for a two-run bomb, giving Carpenter his fifth hit in five at-bats against Cain. Carpenter didn’t start the game, but when Carlos Beltran left with a knee injury, he was thrust onto the scene. The pitch wasn’t horrible, but Carpenter managed to crush it.

Cain went deep into the game, but he allowed three earned runs and took his second loss of the postseason. Javier Lopez faced one batter, Jose Mijares faced three, and George Kontos faced one for San Francisco, allowing them to preserve Sergio Romo, Santiago Casilla, Jeremy Affeldt, and, most importantly, Tim Lincecum.

San Francisco’s quirky pitcher, formerly known as the team’s ace and still known as the face of the franchise (well, he and Brian Wilson,) will get the ball in tomorrow’s pivotal Game 4. Lincecum limped through a disastrous 2012 campaign, but allowing one run and recording 25 outs in the playoffs has certainly helped boost his confidence and Bruce Bochy’s confidence in Lincecum.

In another shocking twist, Madison Bumgarner has been removed from the playoff rotation after a terrible Game 1 start. Barry Zito will start Game 5, and he will oppose either Lance Lynn or Chris Carpenter (on short rest). Since Carpenter didn’t throw many pitches in Game 2, he will probably oppose Zito in Game 5.

The situation would probably been different had San Francisco escaped Game 3 with a win, but they couldn’t. 11 men were left on base in the first seven innings, as Hunter Pence continued to struggle and others failed to come up with key hits. Cain pitched well, but he couldn’t shut St Louis out like he did to Philadelphia in Game 3 of the 2010 NLCS.

Now, San Francisco will turn to the shaggy-haired former ace with a 5.18 regular season ERA to get them to a comfortable spot. But one thing is for sure; they aren’t comfortable now, and they blew a chance to be comfortable.