Originally posted on Fox Sports Midwest  |  Last updated 10/19/12
ST. LOUIS When the damage was over, when the St. Louis Cardinals' hopes of closing this National League Championship Series at home were all but gone, Lance Lynn walked toward his dugout to little applause. It was a polite clap from few, the recognition a far cry from what the burly right-hander had in mind on what could have been a night of champagne and celebration to mark his franchise's 19th NL pennant. Such visions were short-lived during the San Francisco Giants' 5-0 victory in Game 5 on Friday night, dashed with the NL West champion's four-run barrage in the fourth inning at a chilled Busch Stadium to cut the Cardinals' series lead to 3-2.Lynn's messy stretch lacked many things: Poise and control, command and a soft touch when throwing to second base, chief among them. So with Lynn's loose hand, the Giants were made stronger. This series returns Sunday to San Francisco, where St. Louis must answer in a hostile setting with World Series dreams swirling around the Bay Area. His struggle meant a renewed Giants surge, and it erased positive memories of one of his most efficient early-inning outings of the year. "I didn't give up a hit until the fourth," Lynn said. "It was just another bad inning. This time of the year, they're going to blow up on you if you give them that extra out, and I gave them that extra out tonight." Here's how the damage occurred: With one out, Marco Scutaro scored from second base after Lynn's errant throw to second to try to retire Pablo Sandoval skipped off the bag and into center field, following a soft chopper from Hunter Pence. After Brandon Belt popped out and Gregor Blanco walked, Brandon Crawford singled to right field, scoring Sandoval and Pence. Finally, Barry Zito reached on a bunt single to third, scoring Blanco. Just like that, Lynn's stellar night went up in smoke. Just like that with Zito throwing a gem a return trip to San Francisco became reality. "I thought he was as good as we've seen him all season those first three innings," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said of Lynn. "He looked like he was untouchable. He was mixing his off-speed pitches very well and executing his fastball instead of just trying to throw past people. He was pitching." That command didn't last, though, and it brought to mind Lynn's collapse in Game 1 of this NLCS on Sunday. That night, the Giants tagged Lynn for four runs in the fourth inning a rally that nearly shaved the Cardinals' six-run lead. St. Louis' bullpen performed well after he was chased, allowing two hits the rest of the way to preserve the victory. On Friday, Lynn's stumble went beyond his listless fourth. In the second inning, he approached the plate with bases loaded and one out. He dribbled into a double play, ending the Cardinals' best chance early to crack a confident Zito. Despite that blunder, Lynn's throw into center field was the lasting bruise. Afterward, he stood before his locker in a quiet clubhouse and accepted responsibility for the error. He was concise and direct. He was willing to shoulder complete blame. He refused to criticize shortstop Pete Kozma, the nearest defender to the ball when it trickled into the outfield. He refused to complicate the issue, saying, "It was just one of those times where I short-armed it a little bit." "I turned around and threw the ball into center field and could have got myself out of an inning," Lynn said. "It was definitely my fault."Now the Cardinals must regroupand try to close once more.But the Giants have proved themselves to be playoff-tested. They won three consecutive games at Great American Ball Park to oust the Cincinnati Reds in the National League Division Series. Hooking Lynn gives them belief that they can achieve the feat again. So as Lynn walked off the field Friday, he was reminded how fast fate can change on the mound in October. As Lynn has learned twice this series,plans are perilous this time of year. The champagne remained capped, and a flight to the West Coast awaited. You can follow Andrew Astleford on Twitter @aastleford or email him at aastleford@gmail.com.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Seahawks players feel Sherman bombshell story ‘nailed it’

Turkey: Kanter a member of terrorist group, issues warrant

Chad Johnson says Roger Goodell consulted him on touchdown celebration rule change

Kevin Durant is not to blame for the NBA’s lack of parity, and he knows it

Khloe Kardashian called out Cavs fan who mentioned ‘curse’

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Warriors’ Mike Brown: Steve Kerr may be back for the Finals

Dodgers transfer Andrew Toles and Scott Kazmir to the 60-day disabled list

Looking back at 40 years of women racing in the Indianapolis 500

U.S. national soccer teams to wear LGBT-themed jerseys to celebrate pride month

Mike Zimmer: Teddy Bridgewater still has ‘long ways to go’

Report: Clippers concerned about Chris Paul leaving to sign with Spurs

Best of Yardbarker: Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines

The 'More like Whiffer, Texas Ranger...amirite?' quiz

The Rewind: Vince Carter's graduation day celebration that wasn't

Manu Ginobili gave life to the San Antonio Spurs

Stanley Cup Final: A David vs. Goliath matchup that's not as lopsided as it may appear

Why the Indianapolis 500 is called 'the greatest spectacle in racing'

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Box Score 5/26: Bring on the Finals

Why wait? Our too soon Cavaliers-Warriors NBA Finals preview

Kicking It: East is East, and West is West

Three Up, Three Down: Some surprises way out (NL) West

The 'Let's go to the videotape!' quiz

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Best of Yardbarker: Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines

The 'More like Whiffer, Texas Ranger...amirite?' quiz

Stanley Cup Final: A David vs. Goliath matchup that's not as lopsided as it may appear

Manu Ginobili gave life to the San Antonio Spurs

The Rewind: Vince Carter's graduation day celebration that wasn't

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Kicking It: East is East, and West is West

Three Up, Three Down: Some surprises way out (NL) West

The 'Let's go to the videotape!' quiz

Why the Indianapolis 500 is called 'the greatest spectacle in racing'

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker