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Final Score: Giants 9 Cardinals 0, Cardinals Head Home After Brutal Game 7 Loss

The Bottom Line

— The St. Louis Cardinals lost to the San Francisco Giants on Monday night by a score of 9-0 in game seven of the National League Championship Series. The Giants are advancing onto the World Series to face the Detroit Tigers, and the Cardinals are unfortunately headed home.

— Kyle Lohse, who just could never get comfortable tonight,  gave up five runs and six hits over just 2+ innings. He was taken out of the game when he loaded the bases with no outs in the third, but Joe Kelly came in and gave up three inherited runs, plus two more of his own. The kicker had to have been Hunter Pence’s double which took an extremely bad bounce, causing Pete Kozma to misplay the ball.

Matt Cain gave up no earned runs and five hits over 5 2/3 innings, striking out one and walking four. He also  helped out his cause with an RBI-single in the second inning.

Yadier Molina went 4-for-4, though it didn’t really matter since no one else could drive him in…

Pablo Sandoval, Brandon Crawford, and Angel Pagan all hit RBI singles contributing to the Giants’ shutout victory.

— The Cardinals left 8 men on base on Monday night and went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position, while the Giants also left 9 men on base, but went 3-for-13 with runners in scoring position.

STARTING PITCHING: Both Lohse and Cain looked extremely nervous tonight. Neither of them were comfortable from the start, taking their time with literally every single pitch. Unfortunately, though, it was Lohse who faltered and just could not execute under pressure. Cain battled tonight and was impressive, as giving up no earned runs in a game seven elimination game is no easy task.

RANDOM, IRRITATING THOUGHTS: I suppose the bullpen did a good job, whatever that’s worth….This game just looked lost from the start…Their lineup, as banged up as its been, was just totally lose these past three games and failed to come through at any point….I feel bad for Pete Kozma, I really do. He had such a terrific postseason and now all he is going to be remembered for is his poor defense in the third inning that left the Cardinals down permanently, as they were just never able to get it going on the base paths.

It’s so strange how the season can just end like that. The Cardinals have still won 11 World Series Championships, 18 National League Pennants, 3 National League Eastern Division Titles, and 8 National League Central Division Titles. They are one of the most successful and prolific franchises in Major League Baseball, and I’m proud of the job they have done in 2012. They surpassed nearly everybody’s expectations after losing Pujols, LaRussa, and Duncan, in addition to Chris Carpenter for the first five months of the season. They were without Lance Berkman for the vast majority of the season as well as Jaime Garcia and Rafael Furcal for the end of the season. They overcame obstacles and they did what they could with what they had.

What’s Next: I guess football and basketball season. I don’t have anything else to say. It’s very hard to repeat championships and the Cardinals came closer than a lot of other teams do. So there’s that for some silver lining. Let’s regroup in the morning and address what’s next for this team. Here’s to the Cardinals in 2013.