Tough to count these Giants out

The Giants' Barry Zito delivers against the Cardinals in Game 5. Zito shut out the Cards through six innings. DILIP VISHWANAT / Getty
The Giants' Barry Zito delivers against the Cardinals in Game 5. Zito shut out the Cards through six innings. DILIP VISHWANAT / Getty

Cardinals forced to go west, still one win short of clinching the National League title.

Posted: October 21, 2012

The Giants sure are tough to eliminate this postseason.

Barry Zito and the Giants gave themselves at least one more game in the NL Championship Series with a 5-0 victory Friday in St. Louis that forced Sunday's Game 6 back at AT&T Park.

Just where the NL West winners want to be with their season on the line - in front of the raucous, orange-towel-waving sellout crowd.

"It's great to be back in San Francisco. There is no tomorrow," Giants rightfielder and ex-Phillie Hunter Pence said. "It's a unique feeling. It has brought the best out of us."

The wild-card Cardinals traveled out West again for a trip they certainly hoped they wouldn't have to make. Defending champion St. Louis leads the best-of-seven series, three games to two, needing one more win for a World Series return.

St. Louis knows how hard winning the last one can be, considering what this Giants team already did during these playoffs: winning three straight on the road at Cincinnati in the division series after falling behind, 2-0.

"They've been doing this all year. Obviously, the Cincinnati series, here come the Giants," Cardinals third baseman David Freese said. "It's good for TV, but it's disappointing in [our] sense."

Game 2 winner and Octorara product Ryan Vogelsong starts for the Giants for the second time this series against Chris Carpenter, who lost that matchup on Monday.

"No question, we want to win it as soon as we can. We wanted to do it last night," Carpenter said Saturday. "But, again, we have to get one win before they get two. We'll do whatever we can. If it's not tomorrow night, we'll come in and do it again."

While the Cardinals took a day to rest - Carpenter and a couple of pitchers did play some catch - Pence and most of his team showed up at the ballpark in late afternoon to hit and work out even though manager Bruce Bochy gave his players the day off.

With Vogelsong on the mound, the Giants have to like their chances to push the series to a Game 7.

Vogelsong became the first Giants starter to make it through six innings this postseason when he went seven strong innings in a 7-1 Game 2 victory. He allowed four hits and one run for his first career postseason win.

St. Louis postseason ace Carpenter was looking forward to another chance, too.

The 37-year-old Carpenter pitched two clinchers last October and went 4-0. He won the division series clinchers. the Phillies and did it again in Game 7 of the World Series against the Texas Rangers.

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