|Giants closer Sergio Romo and catcher Buster Posey celebrate their NLCS Game 7 win. (Getty Images)|
The National League playoff featured just about everything you could imagine -- from controversy in the wild card game, to two epic comebacks in the division series and then the Giants surviving three elimination games to advance to the World Series. Game 7 of the National League Championship Series may not have been the best game of the bunch, but it had its excitement. Let's hope the World Series is as enjoyable as the NL playoffs were.
Giants offense: Every member of the Giants starting lineup recorded a hit, including Marco Scutaro who had three. Even starter Matt Cain got in on the hit parade, singling in a run in the second. Each member of the starting nine either scored or drove in a run. The Giants went 14 for 38 at the plate.
Matt Cain: Funny the difference between a two-run lead and a seven-run lead. Cain had 56 pitches through three innings, and despite a 2-0 lead, it seemed like he wouldn't last too much longer. But then the Giants offense exploded for five runs in the third and he cruised through the next 2 2/3 innings. After putting runners in scoring position in each of the first three innings, he didn't allow another runner to second until he had one out in the sixth. After Cain got David Freese swinging for the second out of the inning, Jeremy Affeldt replaced him and got the final out of the inning. Cain gave up five hits and a walk, striking out four, in his 5 2/3 innings. He threw 102 pitches.
Weather: A threat of rain hung over most of the game, and by the time it did come out, the game had been decided. If the scored weren't 9-0, there's no question the umpires would have called for the tarp. But with the Cardinals' fate sealed, it seemed prudent to play in the downpour. It also gave us some great visuals -- and luckily nobody was hurt.
Mike Matheny: The rookie skipper of the Cardinals had an impressive season just to get this far in the first post-Albert Pujols, post-Tony La Russa season in St. Louis. While it may have been the right call to go to the bullpen in the third inning on Monday, he went with Joe Kelly instead of his best reliever, Trevor Rosenthal, in what turned out to be the game's pivotal inning. Rosenthal pitched two scoreless innings, striking out four, later in the game, but by that time the damage was done.
Cardinals defense: St. Louis was only charged with two errors in the game, and all nine of their runs were earned, but you'd be hard pressed to say defense wasn't the key to this game. Rookie shortstop Pete Kozma wasn't charged with an error until later in the game, but he had a rough third inning, misplaying Hunter Pence's double, then failing to get Pence at the plate on a force out for the inning's fourth run. The fifth run of the inning scored when he and Daniel Descalso couldn't turn two on Angel Pagan's grounder. Jon Jay was charged with an error, allowing a run to score, on Pence's double. St. Louis had six errors in the series.