Giants draw even in the NLCS

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Giants draw even in the NLCS

From Comcast SportsNetSAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- The sight of Marco Scutaro on the ground in pain after getting flattened by Matt Holliday's hard takeout was just the spark the San Francisco Giants needed.Scutaro even got into the act with his own big blow that helped the Giants end their home slide.Scutaro hit a two-run single in San Francisco's four-run fourth inning before leaving with a hip injury and the Giants got their first home win this postseason, 7-1 over the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday night to tie the NL championship series at one game apiece."It just kind of pumps you up," Giants outfielder Hunter Pence said. "When you see one of your guys go down, you always want to win the game, but it's like, Let's go. Let's put it on the scoreboard.'"Scutaro left after the fifth because of his damaged left hip on a play Giants manager Bruce Bochy felt was illegal. X-rays were negative, and Scutaro likely will get an MRI on Tuesday. There was no word on his future status."In hindsight, I wish I would have started the slide a little earlier but it happened so fast," Holliday said. "I hope he's OK, he's a good guy. I was more interested in breaking up the double play."The series now shifts to St. Louis for three games, starting with Game 3 on Wednesday when San Francisco ace Matt Cain takes on Kyle Lohse of the Cardinals.Things got off to a testy start when Holliday barreled into Scutaro at second base to break up a potential double play in the first inning. The play riled up a crowd that had seen three straight losses by the Giants so far this postseason.There was plenty to cheer all night for the Giants. Ryan Vogelsong pitched seven strong innings, Angel Pagan hit a leadoff homer to give San Francisco its first home lead this postseason, and Scutaro broke the game open with his single off Chris Carpenter."That shows you how tough he is," Bochy said. "I really think they got away with an illegal slide there. That rule was changed a while back. And 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 roadblock."Making Scutaro's hit even sweeter for the Giants was the fact that Holliday misplayed the ball in left field, allowing a third run to score on the error."There's baseball gods. There's definitely baseball gods," former Giants first baseman Will Clark said. "There's a reason why he hits a (single) and Holliday boots the ball he hit. Baseball gods shine in weird ways."The Giants also benefited from a missed call by an umpire in the eighth inning after St. Louis center fielder Jon Jay made a spectacular, diving catch to rob Brandon Crawford of a hit.Jay threw toward first and the Cardinals should have gotten a double play, but first base umpire Bill Miller did not see Allen Craig tag Gregor Blanco's jersey as he raced back to first on the play.St. Louis manager Mike Matheny argued the call and the umpires huddled to discuss it, but they kept the safe call even though replays showed Craig made the tag. The Giants capitalized when Ryan Theriot hit a two-run single to make it 7-1."I'm not going to take a hard stance one way or another on the replay," Matheny said."That really wasn't the game today," he said. "But every once in a while there's a big play that does change the course of the game and I'm not against having something else to help get it right. Our guys work hard to make the right plays and execute, so we want things called fairly."Back at Busch Stadium, Holliday will be cheered after being the target of boos all night following his aggressive play on the basepaths.With runners on first and second and one out, Craig hit a bouncer to Crawford, and the shortstop quickly flipped to Scutaro for the forceout.Holliday, a former high school football star in Oklahoma, came tumbling in and slid late into Scutaro, crushing his left leg to prevent up the double play. Scutaro lay on the ground twisting in pain while trainer Dave Groeschner and Bochy ran out of the dugout to attend to the second baseman."A lot of guys take pride in breaking up double plays. Holliday is one of them," Cardinals second baseman Daniel Descalso said. "On slowly hit balls you're going to get hit. You don't want anyone to get hurt, but I'm all for playing the game hard."Vogelsong got out of the jam by retiring Yadier Molina on a groundout."I just really was trying to make the next pitch to get the guy out so we could get him in the dugout," Vogelsong said.Scutaro stayed in the game with a limp until being replaced in the sixth by Theriot. By then, he had done his damage with the bat in the big fourth inning.The rally started innocently enough with a bloop, opposite field double by Brandon Belt and a chopper over third baseman David Freese by Blanco. Crawford then hit a bouncer between the mound and first base that Carpenter fielded and threw away toward first base. It appeared Crawford may have impeded Carpenter by running inside the baseline but the Cardinals did not argue the play.With the bases loaded and two outs, Scutaro lined his single to left-center that Holliday misplayed to the delight of Giants fans, putting Carpenter and the Cardinals into a 5-1 hole."He's a clutch hitter, he always has been, I know that since he's been over here," Carpenter said. "He's not going to miss those opportunities."Vogelsong made the lead hold up by becoming the first Giants starter to make it through six innings this postseason. He allowed four hits and one run for his first career postseason win.These teams have a history of contentious meetings in the NLCS from Jeffrey Leonard's one-flap down home run trot in 1987 that riled up the Cardinals to a benches-clearing dustup 10 years ago when St. Louis reliever Mike Crudale buzzed Kenny Lofton after he showboated on a home run.San Francisco answered with the bats this time as Pagan led off the bottom of the first with a homer -- matching his feat from Game 4 of the division series against Cincinnati. The Giants had been outscored 20-6 and never led in two home losses to the Reds and the Game 1 defeat to the Cardinals.Pagan's shot came soon after Scutaro was wiped out."We felt for him," Pagan said. "We felt a little bit of anger. I haven't seen the replay, so I can't judge if it was dirty or not. Any time you see a teammate fall down like that, you really feel for him."The Cardinals tied it in the second inning when Pete Kozma drew a two-out walk and scored on Carpenter's RBI double, his third hit already this postseason.But Carpenter, making his fifth appearance in 2012 after complicated surgery to remove a rib and two neck muscles, wasn't nearly as sharp on the mound or in the field. He allowed five runs -- two earned -- and six hits in four innings, failing to add to his 10 career postseason wins.NOTES:Philadelphia's Jimmy Rollins is the only other player with two leadoff homers in a single postseason, doing it in 2008. ... Cardinals OF Carlos Beltran reached base three times, doubling twice and walking once. ... Giants 3B coach Tim Flannery performed the national anthem with the Grateful Dead's Bob Weir and Phil Lesh. ... Vogelsong doubled in the sixth to become the first Giants pitcher to get a postseason extra-base hit since Jack Bentley homered in the 1924 World Series.

Instant Replay: 49ers plowed by Bears, skid reaches 11

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AP

Instant Replay: 49ers plowed by Bears, skid reaches 11

BOX SCORE

CHICAG0 – Just when the 49ers’ offense started to look as if it was warming up in Florida, things got cold in a hurry.

Quarterback Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers’ passing game put together one of the most anemic showings in 49ers franchise history on Sunday in a 26-6 loss to the Chicago Bears on a snowy day at Soldier Field.

Kaepernick completed just one of five pass attempts for 4 yards. He was also sacked five times for minus-25 yards to give the 49ers minus-21 net yards passing in his three quarters of action.

With more than 12 minutes remaining and the 49ers trailing by 18 points, coach Chip Kelly benched Kaepernick and inserted Blaine Gabbert.

On Gabbert’s first play, he completed an 18-yard pass to receiver Jeremy Kerley. Gabbert, who started the 49ers first five games of the season, ended up with four completions in 10 attempts for 35 yards.

The 49ers entered the game with their franchise-worst game in passing at minus-10 yards, when Bob Waters and Lamar McHan combined for 63 yards passing against the Detroit Lions in 1963. The 49ers gave up 73 yards in sacks to account for the negative yardage.

The 49ers (1-11) extended their franchise-worst losing streak to 11 games against a Bears team that improves to 3-9 despite 15 players being on injured reserve. That list does not include quarterback Jay Cutler, who remains on the roster despite a season-ending shoulder injury.

The 49ers’ utter futility in the passing game was reminiscent of a 2005 trip the 49ers made to Soldier Field. Unlike Sunday, that game was howling wind that featured gusts up to 47 mph. On that day, Cody Pickett completed just one of his 13 pass attempts for 28 yards.

Neither Kaepernick nor Bears quarterback Matt Barkley completed a pass in the first quarter. Barkley was 0 for 2, while Kaepernick was 0 for 1. Kaepernick was also sacked two times for minus-18 yards.

It was the first NFL game since a New York Jets-New England game in 1988 that did not have a completed pass in the first quarter, according to Elias Sports.

The 49ers concluded the first quarter with 11 consecutive run plays. When Kaepernick finally completed a pass – a shovel pass to Shaun Draughn for 15 yards – it was nullified by right guard Joshua Garnett’s holding penalty. He later found tight end Vance McDonald on a 4-yard pass.

The fact that both teams did not even try to throw was a bit perplexing consider there was absolutely no wind and the snow did not pick up until halftime.

Kaepernick threw for 296 yards and three touchdowns in the 49ers’ 31-24 loss to the Miami Dolphins last week. The team practiced in mid-80s temperatures in Orlando, Fla., before traveling north to near freezing conditions in Chicago.

The Bears finally began to open up their offense after the 49ers took a 6-0 lead late in the first half. Barkley completed three of four attempts for 64 yards and benefitted from a questionable pass-interference penalty on Tramaine Brock in the end zone.

Bears rookie running back Jordan Howard punched it in from 1-yard out with 35 seconds remaining in the half to give Chicago a 7-6 lead after 30 minutes.

While the 49ers continued to stumble around, the Bears figured out that the conditions did not prevent them from incorporating the pass into their offense. Chicago scored touchdowns on their first two possessions of the second half. They capped drives of 75 and 59 yards with Howard’s touchdown runs of 2 and 5 yards to take a 21-6 lead.

After his rough start, Barkley ended up having a fair amount of success against the 49ers. He ended up completing 11 passes for 192 yards. Barkley, who spent his first two NFL seasons as a reserve on Kelly’s team with the Philadelphia Eagles, made his second career start.

Premature celebration
Rookie Rashard Robinson celebrated Dontae Johnson’s blocked field-goal return for a touchdown with a snow angel (after Johnson did one first). There was only one problem: Johnson did not score a touchdown.

Johnson picked up the ball after Shaun Draughn broke through to block Pat O’Donnell’s punt. Johnson returned the ball 25 yards but was pushed out at the 4-yard line. Robinson thought Johnson scored and celebrated.

Robinson’s 15-yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct pushed the 49ers’ offense back to the 19-yard line. After going nowhere in three plays, kicker Phil Dawson booted a 31-yard field goal to give the 49ers a 3-0 lead in the middle of the second quarter.

This ‘n’ that
--The 49ers’ field goals in the first half were set up by special teams. After Draughn’s blocked punt and Johnson’s return, it was Jimmie Ward who stepped up with a big play. Ward stripped Chicago kickoff return man Deonte Thompson and recovered at the Bears’ 37.

Dawson, who earlier hit a 31-yard field goal, made a 28-yard kick to give the 49ers a short-lived 6-0 lead with 1:56 remaining in the first half.

--Outside linebacker Aaron Lynch misseed his fifth consecutive game with a high-ankle sprain. Lynch has appeared in just three games this season. He served a four-game suspension to begin the season for violating the NFL’s policy on substances of abuse. He was injured late in the 49ers’ Oct. 23 game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The next week was the 49ers’ bye week. Eli Harold will start in place of Lynch for the ninth time this season.

--Wide receiver Quinton Patton was cleared to return to action after sustaining a concussion last week. The 49ers had six wide receivers active for the game: Patton, Torrey Smith, Jeremy Kerley, Rod Streater, Aaron Burbridge, and Chris Harper.

49ers' Kaepernick benched in fourth quarter vs Bears

49ers' Kaepernick benched in fourth quarter vs Bears

CHICAGO -- Trailing by 18 points early in the fourth quarter Sunday, 49ers coach Chip Kelly had seen enough from quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

Kelly benched Kaepernick in favor of Blaine Gabbert after Kaepernick and the 49ers' passing game was non-existent against the Chicago Bears on a snowy day at Soldier Field.

Kaepernick completed just one of five pass attempts for 4 yards. He was also sacked five times for minus-25 yards to give the 49ers minus-21 net yards passing in his three quarters of action.

Gabbert entered with the 49ers trailing 24-6, and his first pass was an 18-yard completion to wide receiver Jeremy Kerley. The series ended with a punt when tight end Vance McDonald dropped a pass from Gabbert on a third-and-10 situation.