NLCS Game Three: San Francisco Giants (94-68) at St. Louis Cardinals (88-74)

9:40 PM
The entire Cardinal dugout stood standing shoulder to shoulder watching as Motte pumped pitch after pitch in the upper-nineties to close out game three. Even San Francisco’s NLCS poster boy Marco Scutaro couldn’t reach base, although he did hit the ball hard to Matt Carpenter‘s right over at first base. With Buster Posey representing the tying run on deck, Motte faced off against The Round Mound of Pound, Pablo Sandoval. True to form, the free swinging third basemen went after a high fastball out of the zone to make the count 0-2, and then Motte toyed with him a bit before getting him to harmlessly fly out to Jay in center. This one goes to the Cardinals, 3-1! Although this series is far from over, it’s a pivotal win for St. Louis, and it feels especially good after a long night like this. I know I’m exhausted, anyway. We’ll be back with more live blogging tomorrow, lovely people! Sweet back-to-back dreams to you all.

9:35 PM
Despite being given a two-out walk in the bottom of the eighth, the Cards couldn’t do anything to get more insurance, so the two-run lead will have to stand up with just three outs left to get. Motte is on to finish the job, and Cardinal Nation gives him its full support. There’s a pop-up as we speak (or as I type, more accurately), so that’s one down! Put this one away, beard man!

9:17 PM
Wow! Matheny’s really going for the throat here in game three, bringing in Jason Motte for a two inning save. I can’t say I disagree with this move; Mitchell Boggs already pitched, and quite frankly this is not a game the team can let slip away from them. It’s vital to go up in the series 2-1, and it’s every bit as vital to win at least one of the next two to avoid going back to San Francisco down 3-2. It’d be nice not to have to back to San Francisco at all, actually. So far, so good for the wild Motte, who saw three hitters and dispatched them all consecutively. Three outs left before game three becomes a long, wet victory.

9:09 PM
Hey everyone, baseball’s back! Jon Jay wasted no time falling behind in the count 0-2 to get things started, eventually grounding out feebly to first base after looking at a few more pitches thereafter. Let us hope the Cardinal bullpen is ready to fling a couple scoreless innings, because if a loss happens after several hours worth of digesting a probable win, I’m not sure I’ll be able to handle it emotionally. Anything could happen. People could die.

8:41 PM
Originally, I started this live blog at my home, went to work, handed the keys over to a female coworker who doesn’t even know what a baseball is, took back over at work with the help of Gamecast, and now am back where I started: at my home computer with the TV on. This is all in the space of one epic length game thanks to an extremely drawn out weather delay. Brian was this close to seeing his first Cardinal playoff win, but the weather felt like hating on him, so he and his brother who looks like Matt Holliday had to give up and head back before the conclusion. What a bizarre turn of events for a game that was zipping along and seemed to be on pace to finish before the weather could act up. To be honest, I’m not entirely sure I’ll even be able to stay up long enough to finish what I started here. This is the longest live blog ever.

6:20 PM
Waiting for the rain delay to be over even sucks at work. I wonder how much it sucks to not be getting paid while you wait. Don’t worry; I’m not getting paid very much. I’m just trying to cheer myself up for having to miss what will hopefully go down as another Cardinal playoff win. Counting that NLDS game Major League Baseball refused to air, this would be the second one this post-season. Did I mention that I downgraded my DISH package in the middle of game five and cost myself the epic comeback at the end? Woe is pretty much me.

5:40 PM
Sugar Shane Robinson comes through! Well, sort of. I guess an RBI ground out still counts, because that insurance run is huge. Now Cardinal fans have something to feel good about while they sit and wait for the rain to stop. It’s 3-1 Cardinals, and they’re just six outs and a bunch of rain drops short of taking a crucial game three.

5:32 PM
Freese, you absolute playoff beast. Good move to walk Dirty Dan; he’s taking a shot at becoming a playoff legend in his own right this year. Insurance would be awfully nice, since a one run lead doesn’t feel nearly safe enough against any offense, even one as middling as the Giants.

5:30 PM
Just checked out the box score, and it certainly does not look like Lohse was at his best. I could have told you that from the few innings I saw at home, but seriously, five walks for a command pitcher? I can’t believe the Giants only have one run. This could easily have been another lopsided defeat were it not for something that seems suspiciously like good Cardinal fortune. Perhaps the Giants were simply “not clutch.” I’m betting on some bad luck, though.

5:26 PM
The Giants have nine hits to go with their one run. Looks like they’ve wasted a lot of key opportunities. Gamecast tells me we’re headed to the bottom of the seventh with the better team leading! It looks like Matt Carpenter’s home run has stood up against the Giant attack, and that’s really exciting. You’d like to see some more offense from the vaunted Cardinal lineup, but against Matt Cain, this happens sometimes.

5:08 PM
This is Holly again. It is time for me to go home for the day now, but Spencer Ryan will be back soon to make real game updates. Enjoy the game! Go Cardinals!

4:48 PM
For all who are reading this . . . Holly does not suck, she just does not know what to post and she is in fact super amazing. Go Cardinals!!

4:35 PM
Can’t see the score on this work TV, and my coworker won’t update for me, but I think the Cardinals are still winning 2-1. Go Cardinals. Holly sucks.

4:05 PM
I love Matt Carpenter and his new playoff edition beard, but he’s obviously no Beltran up there. Just don’t tell him that, because he crushed a baseball over the fence to right field just now to give the Cardinals an early 2-1 lead! This is huge, because Cain is looking very sharp, and you get the feeling that if Lohse couldn’t keep the deficit at a run this one may start to feel over. As for me, watching this game on TV is over. I’ll be headed to work shortly, and while I won’t give up my quest to live blog — even if it results in some kind of disciplinary action at work, like being banished to the dusty Genealogy section to find dead people — the updates will be much more sporadic from here on. Holliday flies out to end the inning, but Carpenter has already spoken with his beard and bat! Baseball! Hold on to this lead, birds!

3:57 PM
Just got goosebumps watching the highlights of that incredible game five comeback in Washington. Wow, what a finish that one was. What a game I didn’t get to watch at the end because I downgraded my DISH package after it was 6-0 without realizing TBS was not part of the basic plan.

3:54 PM
After giving up one run already, Lohse looked like he wanted nothing to do with Buster Posey there. He threw him three straight balls before electing to put him on intentionally, and now the Giants have runners on first and third with just one out and Pence, the cinnamon roll lover himself, up at the plate. After falling behind in the count 2-0, Lohse induced a double play ball off the bat of Pence, and we’ll go into the bottom of the third down by just one. That could have been much worse, but I can’t say I’m particularly impressed with Lohse’s pitching thus far, even if Marco Scutaro’s double was the worst thing I’ve ever seen.

3:42 PM
According to Tim McCarver, each team has an advantage (the Giants play well on the road, the Cards play well at home) and should both win tonight’s game.

3:40 PM
Joe Buck just informed us that Cain looks to have brought his good stuff to the park, and I really wish he’d stop using that line. He said that about Ryan Vogelsong a few nights ago, and the Cardinals ended up losing that game 7-1. Shut up, Joe; whose side are you on here anyway? In other news, Carlos Beltran is out of this game — a huge blow, the way he’s been hitting — and Yadier Molina just reached base with one out on a rare post-season hit. Knock it out of the park, Mr. Freese, you playoff hero.

3:30 PM
If Lohse suddenly develops into the kind of pitcher that hands out free passes ever, this one could be another Giant rout — in both senses of that word. After retiring Pence, he went on to walk Brandon Belt (who admittedly is pretty good at do that) with one out, something that is never a good sign for the control artist. A hard hit ball straight to Allen Craig at first allowed the Cardinals to get the force at first, but Belt beat the throw to second and the Giants are a two out hit away from taking an early lead. Gross. Lohse appears to be pitching around Brandon Crawford, though, so it may be up to Cain.

3:24 PM
Does anyone actually go to Burger King for a cinnamon roll? Wait, does anyone go to Burger King for anything? Also, Hunter Pence is out to start the second. I bet he’d go to Burger King just to get a cinnamon roll, that bug-eyed freak.

3:22 PM
So far the rain has stayed away, and we’ve got baseball underway in the fair city of St. Louis! Both pitchers are through one inning of work despite modest troubles — Lohse gave up a two-out single up the middle and Cain nailed Jon Jay in the kneecap to start his frame. No matter; each hurler worked out of it with ease and we head to the top of the second in a still scoreless game. It’s early, but perhaps this will be the first pitcher’s duel in a series that one might have assumed — on paper at least — would feature several.

3:00 PM
The time has come for another game, friends, and you know what that means: StanGraphs is back with still more live blog coverage! Today will be an interesting one, as Brian is off watching the game live in St. Louis, leaving me in charge of the blog-based activities I’m not even off work to handle. Because I have weird scheduling changes going on at work (it involves double shifts and spending the second half of my day actually working with the public instead of sitting at my cushy desk in the back of the library; the nerve of these people) on Wednesdays, I’ll be able to watch the first few innings of the game before having to stop and go back in to my job.

Why am I talking about this instead of baseball? Because the last few hours of the game are going to make for some very, very interesting live blog material; I won’t even have access to a TV, so a lot of my observations will be based on ESPN Gamecast information. Don’t let that scare you off, though. We never really know what we’re talking about anyway, so today won’t be any different. The updates just might be very sparse at the tail end of this huge blowout win for the Cardinals, who are going with superstar Kyle Lohse to answer San Francisco’s selection of some nobody named Matt Cain. I got a little mad during the last live blog, but I’ll be much calmer today. After all, the Cardinals are going to win by a deficit of at least 12 runs. Get ready for baseball!

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