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Grading NLCS Game 2: Angel Pagan's homer sets the tone

By C. Trent Rosecrans | Blogger
Angel Pagan's leadoff homer set the tone for the Giants' Game 1 victory. (AP)

Related: Playoff Schedule | NLCS heats up as series moves to St. Louis | Holliday's slide injurs Scutaro

SAN FRANCISCO -- The National League Championship Series is headed back to St. Louis, knotted up at one game each, as the Giants rode Ryan Vogelsong and other big fourth inning to a 7-1 victory in Game 2

Not only had the Giants not won in their first three home playoff games, they'd never led until Angel Pagan's leadoff homer in the first. It was his second leadoff homer of the postseason, also hitting one to start Game 4 of the NLDS. He joins the Phillies' Jimmy Rollins as the only two players to hit two leadoff homers in the same postseason. Rollins accomplished the feat in 2008.

Carlos Beltran continues to crush in the postseason, hitting two doubles and walking once in the loss to the Giants. Beltran now has eight extra-base hits this postseason, twice as many as any other player in the playoffs. Beltran's carer postseason average of .378 is the highest among players with at least 100 career postseason at-bats. Paul Molitor is second with a .368 average (43 for 117).

The vaunted Cardinal lineup was held to just five hits Monday after being held hitless over the final five innings Sunday. Jon Jay, Allen Craig, David Freese, David Descalso and Pete Kozma were all hitless on the night. The team was 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position.

Chris Carpenter suffered just his third postseason loss in 17 starts, going up five runs (two earned) on six hits and two walks with just one strikeout in his four innings of work. It was Carpenter's second-shortest postseason start, behind Game 2 of the 2011 NLDS against the Phillies, when he went three innings in a Cardinals victory. But he did tie the game in the second with an RBI double, so it wasn't a totally lost night.

Gary Darling's umpiring crew had a rough night. There were several questionable calls -- and even some more troubling non-calls in this one. Although the Holliday's slide is hardly ever called, it could have been. There was also Brandon Crawford in the baseline on Carpenter's error in the fourth inning, which ended up being on the biggest plays in the game. And then in the eighth, first base umpire Bill Miller missed Craig's tag of Gregor Blanco on a potential double play on Jon Jay's amazing catch.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook.

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