Published October 15, 2012
San Francisco, CA – David Freese and Carlos Beltran each hit a two-run homer to lead the St. Louis Cardinals past the San Francisco Giants, 6-4, in Game 1 of the National League Championship Series at AT&T Park.
Jon Jay and Pete Kozma also drove in runs for the Cardinals, who are coming off a 3-2 series win over the Washington Nationals in the NLDS.
Lance Lynn got the start for St. Louis and surrendered four runs on five hits and two walks over 3 2/3 innings, but six relievers combined to allow just two hits and a pair of walks the rest of the way.
Edward Mujica (1-0) struck out the side in a perfect inning of relief to earn the win, while Jason Motte worked a scoreless ninth inning to record the save.
Madison Bumgarner (0-2) was touched for six runs on eight hits and a walk through 3 2/3 frames to take the loss for San Francisco, which also went the distance in its NLDS series, edging the Cincinnati Reds, 3-2.
"We had our guy out there. He just didn't have his good stuff and he made a couple mistakes," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said about Bumgarner.
The Giants' bullpen also put in a dominant performance, pitching 5 1/3 hitless innings.
Game 2 of this best-of-seven series will be on Monday.
The Cardinals opened the scoring in the second inning when Freese followed Yadier Molina's one-out single with a blast over the left-center field wall.
St. Louis added to its lead in the fourth inning with back-to-back doubles down the first- and third-base lines by Daniel Descalso and Kozma, respectively.
Kozma stole third and came home on Jay's two-out base hit to center field before Beltran hammered a ball into the left-field seats for a 6-0 advantage.
"Right now I'm just seeing the ball well," Beltran said. "I feel like I have a good approach at the plate, I feel like I'm not trying to do too much and good things are happening."
The Giants, meanwhile, did not register a hit until Marco Scutaro led off the bottom of the fourth with a single to left field.
After Lynn retired the next two batters, Hunter Pence singled to right field and Brandon Belt blooped a base hit to center field to plate Scutaro.
Following Gregor Blanco's triple to right-center field that brought home Pence and Belt, Brandon Crawford pulled a double into the right-field corner to close San Francisco's gap to 6-4.
Lynn was replaced by Joe Kelly after issuing a walk to pinch-hitter Aubrey Huff, and Descalso made a diving stop of an Angel Pagan grounder up the middle to end the inning and leave the tying runs on the bases.
San Francisco would advance a runner past first base just one more time for the remainder of the game, when Scutaro hit a leadoff single in the fifth inning and moved to second on Buster Posey's one-out walk.
But the runners would be stranded there as Kelly induced a fly ball to left field by Pence and new pitcher Marc Rzepczynski got Belt to fly out to center field to end the inning.
The Giants would not record another hit until Pagan singled with two outs in the ninth.
Allen Craig then got in front of a hard grounder to first by Scutaro and tossed the ball to Motte, who stepped on the bag for the final out.
This series is the first matchup between the two previous World Series winners since the New York Yankees and Milwaukee Braves met in the 1958 World Series ... The Cardinals are playing in their seventh NLCS since 2000 and their 11th total National League Championship Series ... San Francisco is in the NLCS for the second time in the last three seasons and the sixth time in franchise history ... The Giants had their three-game postseason win streak snapped ... Bumgarner fell to 2-2 in six career postseason appearances ... It is the third meeting in the playoffs between the two teams. The Cardinals defeated the Giants, 4-3, in the 1987 NLCS and lost, 4-1, in their 2002 NLCS match-up.