SAN FRANCISCO — The sight of Marco Scutaro on the ground in pain after getting flattened by Matt Holliday’s hard takeout was just the spark the San Francisco Giants needed.
Scutaro even got into the act with his own big blow that helped the Giants end their home slide.
Scutaro hit a two-run single in San Francisco’s four-run fourth inning before leaving with a hip injury and the Giants got their first home win this postseason, 7-1 over the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday night to tie the NL championship series at one game apiece.
“It just kind of pumps you up,” Giants outfielder Hunter Pence said. “When you see one of your guys go down, you always want to win the game, but it’s like, ‘Let’s go. Let’s put it on the scoreboard.'”
Scutaro left after the fifth because of his damaged left hip on a play Giants manager Bruce Bochy felt was illegal. X-rays were negative, and Scutaro likely will get an MRI on Tuesday. There was no word on his future status.
“In hindsight, I wish I would have started the slide a little earlier but it happened so fast,” Holliday said. “I hope he’s OK, he’s a good guy. I was more interested in breaking up the double play.”
The series now shifts to St. Louis for three games, starting with Game 3 on Wednesday when San Francisco ace Matt Cain takes on Kyle Lohse of the Cardinals.
Things got off to a testy start when Holliday barreled into Scutaro at second base to break up a potential double play in the first inning. The play riled up a crowd that had seen three straight losses by the Giants so far this postseason.
There was plenty to cheer all night for the Giants. Ryan Vogelsong pitched seven strong innings, Angel Pagan hit a leadoff homer to give San Francisco its first home lead this postseason, and Scutaro broke the game open with his single off Chris Carpenter.
“That shows you how tough he is,” Bochy said. “I really think they got away with an illegal slide there. That rule was changed a while back. And he really didn’t hit dirt until he was past the bag. Marco was behind the bag and got smoked. It’s a shame somebody got hurt because of this. That’s more of a roadblock.”
Making Scutaro’s hit even sweeter for the Giants was the fact that Holliday misplayed the ball in left field, allowing a third run to score on the error.
“There’s baseball gods. There’s definitely baseball gods,” former Giants first baseman Will Clark said. “There’s a reason why he hits a (single) and Holliday boots the ball he hit. Baseball gods shine in weird ways.”
The Giants also benefited from a missed call by an umpire in the eighth inning after St. Louis center fielder Jon Jay made a spectacular, diving catch to rob Brandon Crawford of a hit.
Jay threw toward first and the Cardinals should have gotten a double play, but first base umpire Bill Miller did not see Allen Craig tag Gregor Blanco’s jersey as he raced back to first on the play.
St. Louis manager Mike Matheny argued the call and the umpires huddled to discuss it, but they kept the safe call even though replays showed Craig made the tag. The Giants capitalized when Ryan Theriot hit a two-run single to make it 7-1.
“I’m not going to take a hard stance one way or another on the replay,” Matheny said.
Notes: Cardinals second baseman Daniel Descalso, a UCD graduate who was coming off of two good performances that help St. Louis win its past two games, went 0-for-4 on Monday.