MLB Notebook: Vogelsong paves way to Game 7
In the history of League Championship Series play, there have been 15 pitchers to have multiple efforts of seven-plus innings pitched and no more than one run allowed in a single series. Among this group -- which was increased to 15 thanks to Ryan Vogelsong's sterling effort in the Giants' 6-1 win over the Cardinals in Game 6 of the NLCS on Sunday night -- nine of them recorded the win in both of their outings.
Interestingly, this group of nine is heavily represented by National League hurlers, with the only American League arms on the list belonging to the Athletics' Dave Stewart (who did his work in 1990) and CC Sabathia (performing for the Yankees in 2009).
Vogelsong is the first Giants pitcher to make the list of nine, which is also inhabited by a pair of Dodgers (Don Sutton in 1974 and Burt Hooton in '81), a pair of Astros (Mike Scott in 1986 and Roy Oswalt in 2005), and a pair of southpaws (Steve Avery for the Braves in 1991 and Mike Hampton for the Mets in 2000).
NLCS: Cardinals vs. Giants
Behind Vogelsong's seven innings of four-hit, one-run ball, the Giants rolled over the Cardinals to even their best-of-seven-series at three games apiece and force a decisive Game 7 on Monday night in San Francisco.
In his first postseason appearance in 2012 (the first of his career), Vogelsong went five innings and allowed one run and three hits in Game 3 of the NL Division Series vs. the Reds. With his effort Sunday night, the right-hander has put together back-to-back starts of seven innings, one run and four hits allowed, following his victory in Game 2 of the NLCS.
Pitchers with three straight starts of 7+ IP and no more than one run to begin postseason career
With the three outings, Vogelsong is the eighth pitcher to begin his postseason career by having three straight starts of at least five innings and no more than one run allowed.
On Sunday, Vogelsong also fanned nine with one walk, his line producing a Game Score of 73. That score is tied for the highest ever for a Giants pitcher in a Game 6, matching Billy Pierce's score in the 1962 World Series. In that game, Pierce allowed two runs and three hits, walked a pair and struck out two, going the distance in a 5-2 win over the Yankees.
For all teams, the highest Game Score in a Game 6 is Mike Mussina's 88 in the 1997 ALCS. In that game, Mussina allowed one hit over eight scoreless innings while walking two and striking out 10.
Giants pitching limited the Cardinals to one extra-base hit, a double by Carlos Beltran in the sixth inning. The past six times (including three in this year's postseason) the Cardinals have been held to no more than one extra-base hit, they have lost. The last time St. Louis won a game with one or none was in Game 5 of the 2006 World Series, when they defeated the Tigers, 4-2, and had no extra-base hits.
Beltran's two-base hit gave him 10 career doubles to go along with 14 career postseason home runs. His 24 postseason extra-base hits tie him for the 17th most in history. Tino Martinez, Javy Lopez and Johnny Damon also had 24. In terms of games played, Beltran's 24 through his first 33 games are the most ever, one more than Nelson Cruz's total.
Giants second baseman Marco Scutaro went 2-for-3 with a double, two RBIs and two runs scored.
Scutaro has hit safely in nine straight postseason games, dating back to Game 3 of the NLDS. The nine-game hitting streak ties Scutaro with Chief Meyers (1911-12) and Jo-Jo Moore (1936-37) for the fourth longest in Giants history. Irish Meusel hit safely in 11 straight postseason games for the New York Giants in 1921-22, and Alvin Dark (1951-54) and Cody Ross (2010) each hit in 10 straight.
Scutaro has five multi-hit games in this year's NLCS. Those five tie him for the most in a single LCS. The others to have five: Harold Baines (1992), Devon White ( ('93), Eddie Perez ('99), Albert Pujols (2004) and Kevin Youkilis ('07). Before Scutaro, the most for any Giants player was Will Clark's four in 1989.
Pablo Sandoval (2-for-4 with a double and an RBI) has driven in a run in four straight games, tying him for the second-longest streak in Giants history. Barry Bonds had a streak of five straight postseason games in 2002. The others with four: Meusel (1922), Casey Stengel ('23), Jeffrey Leonard ('87), Matt Williams ('89), Bonds (2002), Edgardo Alfonzo ('03) and Ross ('10).
The Giants collected three doubles and a triple but no home runs in the win. There have been 16 games in this year's postseason when the home team failed to hit a home run; in those 16, the home team is 5-11.
Game 7 of the 2012 NLCS on Monday will be the 15th Game 7 in LCS history -- the format was best-of-five from 1969-84 -- and the first in the NL since the Cardinals defeated the Mets in 2006.
In the first 14 Game 7s, home teams are 9-5, and have won the past two (the Rays in 2008 and the Red Sox in '07). The most recent road team to win a Game 7 in the LCS was that 2006 Cardinals club. St. Louis is 3-1 in LCS Game 7s, while the Giants are 0-1, having lost to St. Louis in 1987. Besides '87 and '06, the Cardinals' other victory in a Game 7 came in '04, while their loss came in '96.
Roger Schlueter is senior researcher for MLB Productions. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.