x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

MLB: Giants force series decider against St Louis

San Francisco set up a winner-takes-all clash with the Cardinals for a place in the World Series tonight after Ryan Vogelsong's career-best performance tied the sides at three games apiece.

San Francisco's Ryan Vogelsong pitches against St Louis in game six of their championship series
San Francisco's Ryan Vogelsong pitches against St Louis in game six of their championship series

The Detroit Tigers will have to wait a little longer to discover their World Series opponents after the San Francisco Giants forced a decider in the National League Championship Series against the St Louis Cardinals.

Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong delivered seven stellar innings that included a career-high nine strikeouts to help tie the best-of-seven series at 3-3.

On Friday, Barry Zito helped keep the Giants' season alive, pitching into the eighth inning of a 5-0 shutout that extended the NLCS to a sixth game.

The Giants had come back from a 2-0 deficit in the division series by beating the Reds in three straight games in Cincinnati.

The Giants will host the defending World Series champions in Game Seven on Monday with the winner advancing to face Detroit.

The Cardinals' former Cy Young winner Chris Carpenter failed to get the better of Vogelsong once again. Vogelsong also got the win when the pair took the mound in Game Two.

After going 1-0 up in the first inning, San Francisco opened up a 5-0 lead thanks to four runs in the second where Marco Scutaro batted a two-run double and Pablo Sandoval added a run-scoring single to the delight of the AT&T Park crowd. The home team added another run in the eighth.

Vogelsong, in his first postseason campaign, breezed through a St. Louis line-up that was missing Matt Holliday, scratched with tightness in his back, and allowed just four hits and one RBI single to Allen Craig in the sixth.

Relievers Jeremy Affeldt and Santiago Casilla combined to pitch the eighth and Sergio Romo shut down the Cards in the ninth.

The Giants have now won five straight games this postseason when facing elimination.

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 at Cincinnati, and have now recovered from 3-1 down against the Cardinals.

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