SAN FRANCISCO (BaseballStL) -- The five-run third inning for the Giants proved to be too much to overcome for a Cardinals team that often struggled to stop the bleeding and score runs in the final three games of the series.
One of the so-called “bad luck” plays in Game 7 came off the bat of Hunter Pence which appeared to be an initial misread by shortstop Pete Kozma. The hit resulted in a bases-clearing double and an in-game replay appeared to show Pence’s bat, which broke on the play, hit the ball three times making it difficult for any fielder to stop.
“That is a turning point in the game. You are looking at a potential double play,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said following a 9-0 loss. “We may be able to get out of that inning where it is a 3‑0 game. And that was really what we were hoping for, to get that ground ball. And it was just one that had a lot more spin than what they usually have. And it was a tough play.”
Matheny also noted that the reason he brought in Joe Kelly instead of the flame-throwing Trevor Rosenthal to face Pence was because they were looking for a double play which Kelly is better known to get.
“Right there we needed a ground ball, exactly what Joe Kelly got us. A pitcher would have been up fifth, which we would have risked losing Trevor Rosenthal for a partial inning instead of being able to stretch him out a bit,” Matheny said. “But we wanted the ground balls, and Joe Kelly came in and did what we asked him to do. He did a very nice job all through this run of answering the bell and really having great composure for a young pitcher.”
Kelly allowed two runs on two hits and two walks in 2/3 innings pitched in Game 7. Rosenthal, who relieved Edward Mujica, allowed no runs, one hit and one walk with four strikeouts in two innings pitched.
“He (Pence) is unique in his style of hitting and that ball kind of sliced. I don't know if the shortstop would have made that play,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy added. “You break the bat, and it's slicing away. We'll take it, though, and breaks help you win games like this. I was glad for Hunter, too, because he has done so much to help inspire these guys with his little talks.”