From Comcast SportsNetSAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Ryan Vogelsong and these San Francisco Giants sure have become adept at saving their season.Now, they need to do it once more against the comeback champs.Vogelsong struck out a career-best nine in another postseason gem and on his biggest stage yet, and San Francisco staved off elimination for the second straight game, pushing St. Louis to a winner-take-all Game 7 in the NL championship series with a 6-1 victory Sunday night."There are two teams in the same boat right now. You'll see two teams go out and give it everything they've got," Giants reliever Jeremy Affeldt said. "This is what we play all year for and we'll put it all on the line. This is Game 7. There's only one better Game 7. They are no more what-if scenarios."Turns out the defending champion Cardinals aren't the only team tough to put away in October.Marco Scutaro delivered a two-run double and Buster Posey drove in his first run of the series with a groundout in the first inning as San Francisco struck early to support Vogelsong.San Francisco's Matt Cain and St. Louis' Kyle Lohse are set to pitch in a rematch of Game 3, won by the Cardinals. There's a forecast of rain in the Bay Area during the day."It's time to get it done," Lohse said.These wild-card Cardinals sure seem to like the all-or-nothing route in October, while San Francisco thrives playing from behind."Clutch performances are just guys playing normally in big spots. You can't be petrified by the situation, and neither of these teams have been," St. Louis' Lance Berkman said. "One of the things that makes Game 7's so interesting is that I don't think either of these teams is going to choke it away."Five games with their year on the line, five wins for these gutsy Giants this postseason. Now, it comes down to one game for the past two World Series champions to return, with the Detroit Tigers waiting.Pitching to chants of "Vogey! Vogey!" from the sellout crowd of 43,070 at AT&T Park, the right-hander didn't allow a hit until Daniel Descalso's broken-bat single to center with two outs in the fifth. Vogelsong struck out the side in the first and had already fanned five through two innings."This place is going to be loud, I can tell you that," Vogelsong said of Monday night.Scutaro had no chance for a collision with Matt Holliday this time. In their first game back at AT&T Park since Holliday took out the second baseman with a hard slide in Game 2, Holliday was scratched about an hour before first pitch because of tightness in his lower back, and Allen Craig replaced him in left field.It hardly mattered the way Vogelsong pitched.The Cardinals managed their only run on Craig's two-out single in the sixth. St. Louis had gone 15 innings without scoring after left-hander Barry Zito won 5-0 on Friday in Game 5."I just tried to do really the same thing he did, come out and set the tone early for us," Vogelsong said.Vogelsong had his second stellar seven-inning outing against the Cardinals in a week, allowing four hits and one run. He walked one in a 102-pitch performance and lowered his postseason ERA -- all this year -- to 1.42.The 35-year-old Vogelsong toiled through the minors, Japan and even winter ball to finally pitch under the October spotlight for a chance at the World Series. His latest impressive outing put the Giants one win away."I just believe that it's my time," Vogelsong said.After taking a 3-1 lead back home at Busch Stadium, Mike Matheny's Cardinals will have to find some offense in a hurry if they want to get back to the World Series."We've got to make some adjustments but our team's done that all season," Matheny said. "One thing I know is these guys take these to heart."These Cards might just prefer close calls. Just like last year.They won the NL's second wild card on the second-to-last day of the regular season, then won at Atlanta to reach the division series. The Cardinals rallied from a 6-0 deficit with a four-run ninth inning to stun the Washington Nationals 9-7 in Game 5 of the division series.The Giants got to St. Louis ace Chris Carpenter again. The Cardinals winningest postseason pitcher with 10 victories looked out of sync for the second straight start -- and he left with a nearly identical line as in his 7-1 Game 2 loss here last Monday, down to the hits, earned runs, unearned runs and innings.Carpenter was done in by one big inning this time, too. He allowed six hits and five runs, two earned, in four innings."The bottom line is I'm not giving my team a chance to win," Carpenter said. "You go out with a 5-0 lead after two innings, it's not giving your team a chance."Vogelsong reached on shortstop Pete Kozma's fielding error in the second, scoring Brandon Belt after he led off the inning with a triple. Scutaro came up two batters later and doubled home two more runs.The 10 unearned runs allowed by the Cardinals are the most in an NLCS, according to STATS LLC -- topping the nine given up by the Braves in 2001 and Dodgers in 1985.San Francisco never faced an elimination game in 2010 on the way to winning the World Series, but has had to go the distance in each of its first two postseason series this year. They became the first team in major league history to come back from a 2-0 deficit to win a best-of-five series by winning three straight on the road as they did at Cincinnati."We're enjoying this moment. We know how to handle this situation," San Francisco third baseman Pablo Sandoval said.They have Vogelsong along for this year's run."He was on top of his game again," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "He's probably been as consistent as any starter this year."The Giants put pressure on Carpenter right away.Scutaro drew a one-out walk and Sandoval doubled off the wall in center on a ball that eluded Jon Jay. Posey followed with a groundout to third to score Scutaro for a 1-0 lead.Scutaro is batting .458 (11 for 24) during the NLCS."I don't really know, man," Scutaro said when asked to explain it. "Just excited to come to the field every day. ... Being in this opportunity, just being in the playoffs, is amazing."While the Giants have won five straight games facing elimination this postseason, the Cardinals have won their last six dating to last year. This is the first time the NLCS has gone seven games since 2006, when St. Louis beat the New York Mets 3-1 at Shea Stadium. Carlos Beltran, now with the Cardinals, struck out looking when Adam Wainwright froze him on a curveball."This night, this moment belongs to every player in here and every fan in the stands," San Francisco right fielder Hunter Pence said. "There's still another story to be told, and we'll just have to wait and see if we're going to enjoy it."NOTES:Matheny said he wasn't sure whether Holliday would be available Monday. "Wait and see, we'll see tomorrow," he said. ... Giants 1B coach Roberto Kelly worked his first home game of the series after sustaining a concussion during the initial workout day Oct. 13 before the NLCS began. He gave a thumbs-up before running out to the field during pregame warmups. ... San Francisco is 5-1 when scoring first this postseason. ... The most unearned runs allowed in any LCS is 13, by the Angels in 1986 against the Red Sox. ... The Cardinals didn't get a leadoff man aboard all game.
WALTHAM, Mass. – The Celtics are about to hit one of the toughest stretches of the season and they’ll have to do it for at least one more game without their leading scorer, Isaiah Thomas.
Thomas, who suffered a right groin injury on Monday against the Houston Rockets, did not play on Wednesday against Orlando and said that he will not play in Friday night’s game against the Toronto Raptors.
“It’s day to day. I want to play. I want to be out there but it’s the smart decision to hold out and wait until it’s 100 percent,” Thomas said during a Season of Giving event for children of the Military Friends Foundation held at the Celtics’ practice facility. “If it was a playoff game I would be out there for sure.”
However, after consulting with a number of medical personnel, Thomas decided the best thing for him and the Celtics was to sit out Friday’s game which, along with Wednesday in Orlando, will be the first two he has missed since the 2014-2015 season.
Thomas said there’s no specific timetable for his return, but he said he is planning to travel with the team to Oklahoma City for their matchup against the Thunder on Sunday.
“It’s eating me a live to sit, but I have to do what’s best for my body, I have to do what’s best for this team,” Thomas said. “I need to be 100 percent healthy to give this team what I can give them.”
The Celtics are hoping for similar success they had Wednesday in Orlando (a 117-87 victory) on Friday against Toronto.
“They played a hell of a game last night,” Thomas said. “They’ll be ready tomorrow.”
The fact that Thomas intends to travel with the team is a good sign that the groin injury isn’t too serious.
If he doesn’t play at Oklahoma City, that likely means he’ll return to action on Wednesday at San Antonio.
“I’m going to do what I can to get back out there on the court,” Thomas said. “I gotta be smart about this. I don’t want this to linger on this season.”
Replacing Smart in the lineup against Toronto will most likely be Marcus Smart.
Smart, who has been a replacement starter at small forward and point guard this season, had 13 points, three rebounds, three assists and two steals against the Magic.
Mitch Moreland put up mediocre numbers and won a Gold Glove in a walk year. For his efforts, he received a one-year, $5.5 million contract on the open market.
That’s not a lot. Maybe his .233 average stood out to teams more than his 22 homers, but either way it’s somewhat surprising that a one-year deal on low money is the best he could do given the fact that his career average was .258 prior to last year and he’d hit .275 or higher in two of his previous four seasons.
The contract might not be a major score for Moreland, but he said choosing Boston was.
“I had a couple options, but really just the whole fact that it’s place that I really wanted to play,” he said of Boston. “Getting an opportunity to come here and be a part of a winning environment, being part of a winning environment and having a chance to go out and play for a championship is huge to me, personally, and this is a great option.
“What they were able to do last year, you know you were in for a fight when you were playing these guys. It was a gritty group of guys that had a ton of talent. I like to think of myself as that type player, as a gritty type player and hopefully I felt like I could fit in here and move forward and try to help out and make that goal happen of winning a championship.
“That’s the main goal as far as playing this game for me. I feel like we’ve got a great opportunity here, and that was before the [Chris] Sale news broke, too, you know? So seeing that also, it just shows you that we’re in it. We’re in it and trying to go all out to make that happen. I’m happy to be a part of it.”
It doesn’t hurt that his batting average is higher at Fenway Park than it is in any other stadium in which he’s had at least 30 at-bats. Moreland has hit .341/.378/.683 with four homers and eight RBI in 41 career at-bats at Fenway. Asked to explain his success in Boston, he noted that “comfortable” was the only word that came to mind.
So what is the Red Sox’ plan for the former Rangers first baseman? To play him at first against righties and let Hanley Ramirez DH, John Farrell said.
Farrell did also point to Moreland’s recent work against lefties. Last season was one of two in his career (the other being 2013) in which Moreland had a better average against lefties than against righties. Moreland hit .277/.320/.479 against southpaws last season, with .221/.293/.407 marks against righties.
“Against right-handed starters, Mitch will be the first baseman,” Farrell said. “That gives us the flexibility to DH Hanley in that spot. One thing I also mentioned to Mitch is we’re certainly open to his at-bats growing in number against left-handers, last year was his best year against left-handers in his big league career.
"With Mitch, getting everyday at-bats against right-handed starters at first base and Hanley moving to the DH slot, that alignment, we also have the ability against quality left-handers, where Hanley would go back to first base and then we’ve got the ability to rotate some guys through the DH slot.
Added Farrell: “His strengths as a player are many, but we feel this is a very good fit in a number of ways, and positionally first and foremost.”