x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

MLB: Scutaro overcomes injury scare to guide Giants to win over Cardinals

San Francisco star Marco Scutaro was taken to hospital for x-rays after an early collision with Matt Holliday - but left the game having helped the Giants level their championship series with St Louis.

St Louis Cardinals' Matt Holiday slides painfully into San Francisco's Marco Scutaro during their playoff game
St Louis Cardinals' Matt Holiday slides painfully into San Francisco's Marco Scutaro during their playoff game

The San Francisco Giants levelled their National League Championship Series with St Louis Cardinals at one game apiece last night to end their recent run of defeats.

The Giants had lost three straight home games in the post-season but ended the unwelcome streak in style with a 7-1 thrashing of the Cardinals.

Marco Scutaro hit a two-run single in San Francisco's four-run fourth inning before leaving the game soon after for X-rays on a hip injury.

That injury came about when Matt Holliday crashed into Scutaro at second base to break up a potential double play in the first inning.

Holliday later defended his block, and said: "You're trying to get to the second baseman and obviously try to knock him down so he can't turn a double play.

"As long as you're in the baseline, it's within the rules."

However, Scutaro had the last laugh when his scoring hit in the fourth inning was also mishandled by Holliday in left field.

"It shows you how tough he is," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said afterwards.

"It's a shame somebody got hurt. It was more of a roll block. We're hoping he comes out of this OK. He got hit pretty good."

Meanwhile the Cincinnati Reds have agreed to a two-year contract extension with manager Dusty Baker.

Baker, 63, has compiled a 419-391 record in five seasons with Cincinnati and led the team to the playoffs twice in the last three years.

"In Dusty's five seasons here he's taken us to the postseason twice and has proven he can lead our teams to championship-caliber play on the field," Reds president Bob Castellini said in a statement.

"He's the right manager to continue the building process that will take us deeper and deeper into the playoffs in the future."

Baker missed 11 games last month after being diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat and then suffered a minor stroke while being released from hospital.

However, the three-time National League Manager of the Year returned for the final three games of the regular season and the division series that followed.