Giants, Cardinals heat up as even series moves back to St. Louis

By Scott Miller | Senior Baseball Columnist

SAN FRANCISCO -- Even? Technically, yes.

The Giants clocked the Cardinals 7-1 in Game 2, and this NL Championship Series is knotted up at a game apiece as it hurtles back toward the Midwest for Game 3 Wednesday afternoon in St. Louis.

Even? We'll see about that.

More playoff coverage
ALCS: Tigers vs. Yankees
NLCS: Cardinals vs. Giants

The Giants will get back to us on the matter. Matt Holliday put some juice into this series with a takeout slide of Marco Scutaro at second base in the first inning attempting to break up a double play. And take out Scutaro it did. It took five more innings, but Scutaro's left hip finally stiffened up to the point where he could no longer go, and off he went for X-rays.

The play was all hardball and no tact.

Dirty? Dare you to find a Giants fan who says it wasn't.

Intent with malice? Dare you to find a Cardinals fan who admits it was.

Bottom line? Late decision, bad form, apology owed.

Before he left, though, Scutaro had his revenge in what might well wind up being the most poet moment of this series. Bases loaded and Giants leading 2-1, Scutaro belted ball into left field to score two runners ... and then a third when Holliday overran the ball.

For the rest of this series, Scutaro and Holliday will be attached at the hip.

The hope is, it will be Scutaro's healthy hip. Ryan Theriot replaced him in the sixth, and Scutaro's status for Game 3 and beyond is in question.

So paint it a mostly successful night for the Giants, who got a win they badly needed. In three postseason games this month leading into Game 2 with St. Louis, they hadn't even led over 27 innings. Until Ryan Vogelsong shut St. Louis down on one run over seven innings, Giants starting pitchers hadn't even produced one quality start this postseason.

Bruce Bochy's club didn't have much time to get its act together: Of the previous teams to take a 2-0 NLCS lead, 17 of 19 had gone on to win the series.

Now 1-1, buckle up. It looks like we're in for the long haul. And Holliday and his Cardinals had better be watching their backs.

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