SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter hit a tying RBI double after yielding Angel Pagan’s leadoff homer in the first, leaving St. Louis and the San Francisco Giants tied at 1 through three innings in Game 2 of the NL championship series Monday night.
The Cardinals lead the best-of-seven series 1-0.
Pagan pulled a 90 mph sinker from Carpenter over the arcade in right field to give San Francisco its first home lead of the playoffs and whip an orange towel-twirling crowd into a frenzy. Neither lasted long.
Carpenter’s two-out hit off Ryan Vogelsong in the second scored Pete Kozma from first. The right-hander is 3 for 4 with two doubles this postseason.
The intensity of the championship series surfaced again in a matchup of the last two World Series winners.
Matt Holliday slid late and hard into the bag when he was forced out at second in the first inning, crashing into Marco Scutaro’s left leg to prevent the double play on Allen Craig’s grounder. Scutaro’s throw to first was late, and he lay on the ground twisting in pain while trainer Dave Groeschner and manager Bruce Bochy ran out of the dugout to attend to the second baseman.
Giants fans showered Holliday with boos and again after he popped out in the third. Scutaro stayed in the game. With runners on first and third, Vogelsong got Yadier Molina to ground out to shortstop to end the threat.
The switch-hitting Pagan followed with his second leadoff home run of the postseason after doing the same in Game 4 of the division series at Cincinnati. The only other player to hit two leadoff home runs in a single postseason was Philadelphia’s Jimmy Rollins in 2008.
In the second, Kozma drew a two-out walk and Carpenter followed with the tying double to left-center.
Former Giants right fielder Carlos Beltran doubled leading off the third inning. Vogelsong stayed steady and got help on a backhanded grab in foul territory by first baseman Brandon Belt, who ran back and to his right while avoiding a fan’s outstretched glove to get Molina for the third straight out.
The Giants went 48-33 at home in the regular season, tied for fifth-best in the NL. With the nightly sellouts and spacious dimensions that help the pitching staff, San Francisco’s struggles at home in October have baffled Bochy.
After Sunday night’s 6-4 loss to St. Louis, the Giants dropped to 0-3 at home so far during these playoffs and had been outscored 20-6 at AT&T Park. They swept the Reds at Cincinnati after dropping the first two in the division series, but will need to win at least one home game if they hope to return to the World Series for the second time in three years.
Game 3 is Wednesday night in St. Louis. Giants ace Matt Cain is scheduled to start against Kyle Lohse. Games 4 and 5, if necessary, will be in St. Louis before the series shifts back to San Francisco for the final two.
Antonio Gonzalez can be reached at: www.twitter.com/agonzalezAP