The Cardinals won 5-4 today to move to a two games to one deficit in the NLCS.
The Giants missed opportunities all day. In the first, they had Rich Aurilia, who hit two home runs in the last game, bunt the lead-off runner to second helping squander an opportunity. The inning ended with the bases loaded and no runs scored. The inning featured three bad defensive plays: First, an Edgar Renteria error on a ground ball by lead-off hitter Kenny Lofton, then a 2-out flip by Renteria to scond baseman Fernando Vina for a force that was scored a fielder's choice when Vina failed to cover the base (Vina did at least try to get the batter at first but was too late), and finally a near-collision on a fly ball to end the innings (in which Vina strayed too far into Jim Edmonds territory).
In the second the Giants had three lead-off singles (the third helped by some sloppy D by pitcher Chuck Finley), but scored only one run. After a fielder's choice at home and a sac fly, pitcher Russ Ortiz failed to score from second on a two-out single by Jeff Kent. Barry Bonds ended the inning with a fly ball to right with the vases loaded.
The Giants then opened the third by allowing the Cardinals' lead-off hitter, pitcher Chuck Finley, to get on base with a third-strike wild pitch. The next hitter, Vina, hit a ball that sliced away from center fielder Lofton. The play was scored a double even though the ball bounced out of Lofton's glove and he had time to make the play. Both players ended up scoring and the Cardinals led 2-1.
The rest of the scoring in the game consisted of home runs. Barry Bonds crushed a ball into McCovey Cove, which at the time tied the ballgame. That was the remainder of San Fran's scoring. The Cardinals scored thre more runs, all on solo shots, all just over the wall in left. The most important of those was an Eli Marrero sixth inning shot to put the Cardinals in the lead to stay.
This was a game that the Giants could have very easily won, thereby solidifying their hold on the NL championship. We will have to see how much the ugliness of the game affects both teams, especially the Giants since the lost, going forward.