ST. LOUIS – Giants manager Bruce Bochy expects Marco Scutaro to be on his lineup card for Game 3 of the NL Championship Series, two days after St. Louis slugger Matt Holliday plowed into the San Francisco second baseman while trying to break up a double play.
“I think so. It feels much better,” Scutaro said Tuesday night after participating in a workout at Busch Stadium. “I thought it was going to be worse. Normally, the next day is when you feel it the most.”
Neither seemed all that interested in any talk of retaliation.
“What’s on our mind is to go out and play our best ball,” Bochy said Tuesday night, a day before the best-of-seven series resumes at Busch Stadium with the Giants and St. Louis Cardinals tied at one game apiece. “That’s over. You have to move on.”
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Scutaro said a shutout from Matt Cain would be perfect and knew nothing about get-even plans.
Results of an MRI exam showed Scutaro has a strained left hip, and Bochy said Scutaro also had a sore left knee. The manager had planned on holding him out of practice after the team flight arrived from the West Coast.
“We’re being hopeful he can go,” Bochy said. “I will say he’s more optimistic about where he’s at right now than when it first happened.”
Cain, who will face fellow 16-game winner Kyle Lohse, said little about any possible animosity. Cain added that he wouldn’t be afraid to throw inside against Holliday.
“You’ve got to go out there and pitch your game,” Cain said. “If something gets away from me inside, that’s kind of part of the game. You can’t have a fear of doing that.”
The 36-year-old Scutaro was an unexpected find for the Giants, batting .362 with 40 runs and 44 RBI in 61 games after being acquired in late July from the Rockies for a minor league infielder. He’s batting .250 with three RBI in the playoffs, but has stepped it up in the NLCS, going 4-for-8 with two RBI.
“He’s driven in a lot of two-out runs and gotten rallies going for us as well,” Cain said. “He’s been really, really big for us.”
St. Louis didn’t work out Tuesday after a late-night return flight to the Midwest. And Lohse hopes to end a string of early exits for Cardinals starters in Game 3. He’s all about efficiency, avoiding extended at-bats and letting hitters get themselves out.
St. Louis has gone three straight games without a starter getting an out in the fifth inning. Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said travel days during the postseason lessen the burden and keep pitchers fresh. Still, he’d rather not keep making those early trips to the mound.
“You have strong starting pitching, you have an opportunity to be successful,” Matheny said. “Otherwise, you’re fighting an uphill battle all the time and it seems like you’re constantly coming back.”
Cain, meanwhile, struggled against the Cardinals this year, going 1-1 with a 6.94 ERA in two starts. He is 2-3 with a 4.94 ERA overall in eight starts. The right-hander also hasn’t gone deep in either of his postseason starts, giving up six runs over 102/3 innings.
“I haven’t had a ton of starts in this ballpark,” Cain said. “I think the biggest thing is just making good pitches, and at times I didn’t make good pitches against these guys.”