NL Championship Series Game Five: Giants 5, Cardinals 0

The San Francisco Giants beat the St Louis Cardinals 5-0 in game five of the NLCS, cutting the Cardinals lead in the series to 3-2.

Coming into Friday night's game, the Giants knew they needed a huge start out of Barry Zito. But I don't think they would have expected his performance in their wildest dreams: 7 2/3 shutout innings while allowing six hits, one walk, and six strikeouts. You want to talk about a guy stepping up when his team needed him? That was Zito on Friday. The Cardinals just couldn't get anything going against Zito, going 0/7 with runners in scoring position and after an Allen Craig double to lead off the fourth, they never got another runner as far as second base all evening until Yadier Molina took second on defensive indifference with two outs in the ninth.

As for the Giants offense, all it really takes is one good inning and some lucky breaks. With men on first and second and one out in the fourth, Hunter Pence tapped one back to the mound. Lance Lynn's throw to second skipped off the bag into center field, allowing a run to score and the floodgates to open. After a pop-out and a walk to load the bases, Brandon Crawford singled in a pair of runs and Barry Zito laid down a beautiful bunt to score another run. Just like that, it was 4-0 and Lynn's night was done after just 11 outs and four unearned runs. A Pablo Sandoval homer in the seventh added an unnecessary insurance run for the Giants.

Both bullpens pitched very well, aside from the Sandoval homer allowed by Mitchell Boggs. That run was the only one allowed on two hits in 5 1/3 by the Cardinals pen, which included Trevor Rosenthal striking out four of the six batters he faced in two perfect innings. The Giants pen threw just 1 1/3 scoreless, but didn't really get in any trouble over the 28 pitches that Santiago Casilla and Sergio Romo threw.

Game six will be on Sunday at 7:00 PM. Ryan Vogelsong will start for the Giants, and getting the nod for the Cardinals will be Chris Carpenter. Vogelsong and the Giants beat Carpenter and the Cardinals in game two of the series in San Francisco last Monday. 

About Joe Lucia

I'm the managing editor of Awful Announcing and the news editor of The Comeback. I also made The Outside Corner a thing for six seasons.