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Missed opportunities doom Giants in Game 3 of NLCS

Associated Press Modified: October 17, 2012 at 11:32 pm •  Published: October 17, 2012

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The San Francisco Giants had every opportunity to grab control of the NL championship series Wednesday.

The NL West champions had nine hits and five walks but stranded 11 runners during a 3-1 loss to St. Louis that gave the Cardinals a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.

The Cardinals were as opportunistic as the Giants were wasteful in a game delayed 3½ hours by rain. St. Louis scored its three runs on six hits and left only five runners on base in beating All-Star ace Matt Cain.

San Francisco went 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position, its lone run coming on Pablo Sandoval's third-inning groundout. By contrast, St. Louis was 2 for 4 with runners in scoring position.

Inning after inning, the Giants had opportunities. Six times they put at least two hitters on base in an inning.

"We had our chances," manager Bruce Bochy said. "We left too many on base."

Angel Pagan singled leading off the third and Marco Scutaro followed with a double. But after Sandoval's RBI grounder and an intentional walk to Buster Posey, Hunter Pence hit into a double play.

The Giants had runners on second and third with two outs in the fourth, but Pagan flied out to center. Pagan failed to come through again with two on and two outs in the sixth, grounding into a forceout.

Sandoval one-hopped the left-field wall with one out in the seventh, but Matt Holliday's strong throw held him to a single. That was a big play because Posey followed with a single. But reliever Mitchell Boggs came in to strike out Pence swinging and Brandon Belt looking.

Pence was perhaps the biggest rally-stopper for the Giants' offense, stranding six runners.

"I'm the goat tonight. I just didn't get the job done," he said.

"He's got to put this behind him like us, and be set tomorrow," Bochy said.

Cain was mostly solid but lost for the second time this postseason. Jon Jay looped a two-out single in the third and Matt Carpenter — playing only because Carlos Beltran was removed with a left knee strain — hit a 421-foot homer over the right-field bullpen. Before that, Carpenter was 4 for 4 in his career against Cain, all four of the regular-season hits for singles.

"Really there's no explanation," Carpenter said.

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