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A capsule look at Cardinals-Giants series

Associated Press Published: October 13, 2012
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Giants: The NL West champion Giants became the ninth team to overcome a 2-0 deficit in a best-of-five postseason series and first to do it by winning the final three games on the road, rallying past Cincinnati. ... Posey, who missed most of last season after serious leg and ankle injuries from a frightening collision at home plate with the Marlins' Scott Cousins on May 25, returned every bit the player he was during his 2010 NL Rookie of the Year campaign. He won the NL batting title and is a top contender for the MVP. He made a big impact against the Reds when he hit two homers, including a grand slam in the decisive Game 5 win. ... Manager Bruce Bochy's team rode pitching to the title in 2010 but the lineup this year is much more dangerous, especially on the road. The Giants were the second highest-scoring team on the road in the regular season, averaging 5.1 runs per game. ... San Francisco became the first team since the 1987 Cardinals to make the playoffs with the fewest homers in the majors, hitting just 103. ... In April, the Giants lost All-Star closer and 2010 major league saves leader Brian Wilson. In August, they lost All-Star game MVP Melky Cabrera to 50-game suspension for a positive testosterone test. Cabrera (.346) was reinstated by Major League Baseball on Friday, but the Giants don't plan to put him on the playoff roster. ... Just as he did two years ago during that World Series championship run, GM Brian Sabean brought in key pieces to fill key needs: Scutaro at second and Pence in right field. They're not quite the castoffs and misfits of 2010 — Cody Ross, Pat Burrell — but more a team that overcame the absence of switch-hitting Sandoval because of two DL stints and moved forward seemingly unfazed when Cabrera got suspended. ... Sandoval made up for his playoff flop in 2010, hitting .333 with a homer and three RBIs in the first round. He appeared in only six postseason games and one in the World Series in 2010 — batting .176 (3 for 17) with two RBIs and three strikeouts. ... Giants rookie Hector Sanchez might catch, with Posey moving to first base, when Lincecum or Zito starts.

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Watch For:

— Timmy Time. Lincecum looked nothing like a two-time Cy Young winner when he posted the highest ERA in the National League in the regular season. That performance kept him out of the rotation in the first round, but he excelled in his new role as a reliever. He allowed one run, three hits and no walks in 6 1-3 innings, getting the win in Game 4. He could move back into the rotation in the NLCS after Zito lasted just 2 2-3 innings in his one start.

— Triples Alley. The Giants hit just 31 homers during the regular season at AT&T Park — six fewer than Barry Bonds hit himself there during his record-setting 2001 season. They made up for the lack of longballs with a major league-leading 57, including 29 at home with the spacious right-center field.

— Carp in Control. It seemed to be a foregone conclusion that Chris Carpenter wouldn't pitch in 2012, especially after the 37-year-old had a procedure in July to relieve nerve pressure in his pitching shoulder that caused numbness to the entire right side of his body. Winless in three starts in September, he pitched shutout ball to win his start in the NLDS. It was his first victory since Game 7 of the World Series last year, and re-established him as an October ace.