SAN FRANCISCO -- On the premise that a little bad blood can make for a really good series, this could get interesting between the Giants and Cardinals.
Marco Scutaro was taken down at second base on a disputed slide in the first inning, then helped take down the Cardinals.
Most popular baseball stories
After he was upended by Matt Holliday and before he left in the sixth with a hip injury, Scutaro hit a big single that was misplayed in left by Holliday. That brought home three runs and broke open a 7-1 win for the Giants Monday night that evened the NLCS at a game each.
Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong was outstanding, allowing one run and four hits in seven innings. He also hit a double. Mostly, he, Scutaro, Angel Pagan (leadoff home run) and the rest of the Giants avoided having to come back on the road from an 0-2 deficit, as they did in the Division Series against the Reds.
"It was tremendous that we did it once,'' Vogelsong said. "And I think it would be asking a lot of us to do it again."
In the bigger picture, the Scutaro-Holliday episodes gave this series a jagged edge.
"I really think they got away with an illegal slide there. The rule was changed a while back," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "He really didn't hit dirt until he was past the bag. Marco was behind the bag and got smoked. It's a shame somebody got hurt because of this. That's more of a rolling block.
"We got our second baseman hurt. He was behind the bag. You hate to see that happen. You're all for playing hard. We are. But . . . [we're] hoping for good news here with Marco."
Scutaro left the park in street clothes after X-rays were negative. Bochy said more tests are scheduled for Tuesday.
Giants fans booed Holliday every time he came up after the play in the first. Giants players also believed the slide was late, that he went after Scutaro after he crossed the bag. In baseball parlance, that connotes a dangerous and dirty play.
Giants catcher Buster Posey, who missed much of last season after a collision at home plate that he considered questionable, said of the slide: "I think it was late. It wasn't intentional. But it was late."
Holliday said: "I don't know what the rule is. I was just trying to make sure they didn't turn the double play."
He added that he raised the subject with Posey during his next at-bat. "I just told them to tell Marco I wished I had started my slide a step earlier and that I hope he was OK and I wanted him to know that I obviously wasn't trying to hurt him."
Scutaro went down in pain but was able to stay in the game. And he looked determined to have the Giants stay in this series. His major step in that direction occurred in the fourth inning, when Chris Carpenter was within an out of getting out of trouble with only one run across.
The bases were loaded with two outs in a 2-1 game when Scutaro drilled a shot to leftfield. That drove home two runs, and Giants fans might have seen poetic justice in what happened after that. The ball skipped past Holliday as he attempted to field it, allowing a third run to score to make it 5-1. Bochy said it was impressive because Scutaro clearly was hurting.
"Scutaro inspired us," teammate Hunter Pence said. "You're going to play hard. We're not bad-mouthing Holliday. He's playing hard. Everything is on the table now. We do not feel that Holliday went to hurt Scutaro."
When he was asked if he believes the baseball gods took care of things, Pence said: "I believe in God. And I believe in karma."