On Monday, Oct. 15, 1962, the Giants hosted the Yankees at Candlestick Park in what was a must-win game for the home team. In a series that had seen the Yankees and Giants alternate victories, San Francisco had the unenviable task of trying to force a Game 7 against southpaw Whitey Ford, who had won five consecutive World Series decisions.
But the Giants had beaten the Yankees in Ford's previous start, and they had their own formidable left-hander on the hill that day: Billy Pierce. Looking for his first World Series victory, Pierce -- at 35 years and 196 days old -- would go the distance on a three-hitter assisted by five runs between the fourth and fifth innings on the way to beating Ford and the Yankees, 5-2.
Exactly 50 years later on a Monday, another 35-year-old Giants hurler took the ball in San Francisco and was matched up against a pitcher who had won each of his past five decisions in postseason play. And although the contest did not represent a must-win scenario for San Francisco vs. the Cardinals, it had the feeling of one as Ryan Vogelsong did a fairly good imitation of Pierce a half-century ago, pitching the Giants to a victory and recording his first postseason win.
National League Championship Series: Cardinals vs. Giants
Vogelsong allowed one run and four hits in seven innings to pick up the win as the Giants defeated the Cardinals, 7-1. The win evened their best-of-seven series at one game apiece.
With Monday's effort following his five-inning, one-run start against the Reds in Game 3 of the NL Division Series, Vogelsong became the third pitcher in Giants history to go at least five innings and allow no more than one earned run in his first two postseason appearances.
In his first two appearances during the 1905 World Series, Christy Mathewson threw a pair of four-hit shutouts. In the 2010 postseason, Matt Cain allowed one unearned run in 6 2/3 innings in Game 2 of the NLDS and followed that start with seven scoreless innings in Game 3 of the NLCS.
Vogelsong, at 35 years and 85 days, is the fourth-oldest Giants pitcher to start and win a postseason game. The three oldest, in order, were Rick Reuschel in Game 5 of the 1989 NLCS (40 years, 146 days), Mike Krukow in Game 4 of the '87 NLCS (35 years, 262 days) and Pierce in Game 6 of the '62 World Series.
On Monday, Angel Pagan led off the bottom of the first with a home run. Pagan, who hit the Giants' first postseason leadoff homer in Game 4 of the NLDS, joined Brady Anderson, Derek Jeter, Johnny Damon and Jimmy Rollins as the only players to have multiple leadoff homers in their playoff careers. Of the five, Pagan and Rollins are the only two to have had a pair in the same postseason. The details:
Jeter: Game 4 of the 2000 World Series in the top of first; Game 2 of the '04 ALDS in the bottom of the first; Game 3 of the '09 ALCS in the top of the first.
Rollins: Game 2 of the 2007 NLDS in the bottom of the first; Game 4 of the '08 NLDS in the top of first; Game 5 of the '08 NLCS in the top of first.
Anderson: Game 1 of the 1996 ALDS in the bottom of first; Game 1 of the '97 ALCS in the bottom of first.
Damon: Game 4 of the 2004 World Series in the top of the first; Game 1 of the '07 ALDS in the top of first.
Pagan: Game 4 of the 2012 NLDS in the top of 1st; Game 2 of the '12 NLCS.
Vogelsong's efforts in Game 2 weren't limited to the mound, as he went 1-for-2 with a double, while his St. Louis counterpart, Chris Carpenter, went 1-for-1 with an RBI double. That marked the first time two pitchers had recorded doubles in a postseason game.
Most extra-base hits through first 30 postseason games
J. Edmonds, J. Werth
D. Snider, G. Brett, H. Matsui, D. Freese
D. Henderson, J. Varitek, E. Alfonzo
Carpenter had gone 2-for-3 with a double in his first start of the 2012 postseason -- Game 3 of the NLDS. The right-hander is the first Cardinals pitcher to have a pair of games with an extra-base hit in the same postseason since Murry Dickson in 1946. In Game 3 of the '46 World Series, Dickson was 1-for-2 with a double, and he followed with a double in a 1-for-3 effort in Game 7. Besides Dickson and Carpenter, the only other Cardinals pitcher to do this was Dizzy Dean in 1934.
Vogelsong, meanwhile, was the first Giants pitcher with an extra-base hit in a postseason game since Jack Bentley homered in Game 5 of the 1924 World Series.
Carlos Beltran went 2-for-3 with a walk and two doubles in Game 2. The outfielder has 23 extra-base hits (14 home runs and nine doubles) in 30 postseason games. Those 23 through his first 30 are the most for any player in postseason history.
Beltran improved his career slugging percentage in the postseason to .838, the highest in history for any player with at least 40 plate appearances. His OPS -- also the highest in postseason history -- went up to 1.327.
Beltran now has seven career postseason games with at least two extra-base hits. Those seven tie him with Reggie Jackson for the second most, behind the nine by Manny Ramirez.