SAN FRANCISCO -- With the Cardinals able to limit the production from the heart of the Giants' batting order so far in the National League Championship Series, the bottom of the lineup has been coming through to spur on the offense.
Brandon Crawford's two-run single in Friday's Game 5 was a pivotal moment in the win, while Gregor Blanco contributed two walks and a run. In the series, Crawford has four RBIs while Blanco has four runs scored. Back in the four-run fourth inning in a 6-4 Game 1 loss, the Giants got RBI hits from Brandon Belt, Blanco and Crawford.
"Some of that is the nature of playoff baseball," general manager Brian Sabean said. "So much time is spent with the advance scouts on how to attack somebody's middle, and maybe some of your unsung heroes are ones that aren't commonly known to the public and even the other ballclub. They have a chance to come through."
Getting production from the bottom part of their lineup has been a winning formula for the Giants in the series, getting key contributions from Crawford and Blanco in their two wins so far. In addition to Game 5, Crawford drove in and scored a run in the four-run fourth inning during a 7-1 win in Game 2, with the first of Blanco's two runs scored being the go-ahead run.
"Well, whenever you have an opportunity for your lineup, especially the last part of your lineup, to come through and be productive, usually good things are happening," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "Same thing happened with us -- the games that we've done big things, seems like the bottom has really produced for us."
The Giants' All-Star trio of Pablo Sandoval, Buster Posey and Hunter Pence have combined to go 11-for-58 (.190), and have driven in fewer runs (five) in the series than Belt, Blanco and Crawford (seven).
"The thing about the Giants' lineup, you can talk about the bottom, the middle, the top -- they all put tough at-bats against you," Cardinals Game 6 starter Chris Carpenter said. "And those guys at the bottom are going to continue to do that, too, and they have all series. You've got to make pitches. When you get those guys on in front of the guys in the middle they're going to do damage. So you've got to get them all and make pitches to them all because they all throw quality at‑bats on you."
Scutaro is fine despite not being 100 percent
SAN FRANCISCO -- A handful of days removed from Matt Holliday's hard slide in Game 2 of the National League Championship Series that left him with a sore left hip and knee, Giants infielder Marco Scutaro said he isn't bothered by either anymore -- but he'll laugh at the thought of being 100 percent healthy.
"Have you heard any guys saying that they are 100 percent?" Scutaro said at Saturday's optional workout. "I haven't been 100 percent since December ."
Since Holliday's late slide left Scutaro hobbled and his teammates irked, Scutaro has gone 5-for-13 and showed off his defensive range in the fifth inning by running to his left well into right field to rob Shane Robinson of a single in the fifth inning of Friday's Game 5. He said he felt fine enough to not even consider skipping the optional workout held in preparation for Sunday's Game 6 on FOX at 4:30 p.m. PT.
Scutaro initially left in the sixth inning of Game 2 because of his hip, but then said his knee also was bothering him in the following days.
"I'm surprised my ankle didn't hurt at all," Scutaro said, adding that he is not currently receiving treatment for his injuries. "I thought maybe the next day it would be my ankle, but it doesn't hurt."
As he writhed in pain in the first inning of Game 2 on the dirt after Holliday crashed into him in order to try and break up a potential double play, Scutaro said he first believed that the injury might have been serious enough to sideline him indefinitely.
"I felt like something was sprained in my hip," Scutaro said. "I felt something pull my hip out of place. It was kind of weird because I didn't feel anything that night on my knee, but the next day my hip was better and my knee was hurting a little bit. I'm just happy that I didn't have a broken leg or knee."
Giants opt for workout during their off time
SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants held an optional workout at AT&T Park on Saturday in preparation for Sunday's Game 6 of the National League Championship Series on FOX at 4:30 p.m. PT, with the vast majority of the team electing to participate.
The Giants arrived back to San Francisco at around 2:30 a.m. local time Saturday morning following Friday's 5-0 win in Game 5. And while the Cardinals elected not to hold a workout, nearly the entire Giants postseason roster was at AT&T Park to field grounders, take batting practice and play catch.
"That's not surprising," general manager Brian Sabean said of the high attendance at the workout. "You get used to a routine in some ways, and a day off can be a momentum stopper. Especially getting in late and having these guys laying around all day and watching football or just relaxing, it's good to get them out in their same routine. I think generally it's good for any ballclub at this stage."
Only a handful of players were absent from the workout, notably Buster Posey, Pablo Sandoval and a few starting pitchers. Madison Bumgarner, recently moved out of the rotation and into the bullpen, had a throwing session at the beginning of the workout.
"It's important for some people, and some people feel good enough with where they're at so they don't have to come out here," first baseman Brandon Belt said. "It's more of a feel thing. I like to stay in routine, so that's one of the reasons I came out here."
After flying in from St. Louis in the afternoon, only a handful of Cardinals were at the ballpark, either to receive treatment for injuries or throw bullpen sessions. The Giants elected to come back to San Francisco right after Friday's game, enjoying a much easier trip than when they last flew home. The team had to wait on the tarmac in Cincinnati to catch the end of the Cardinals-Nationals NLDS Game 5 to see where they would be flying, only to experience a three-hour delay because of mechanical problems.
"It was very nice, very smooth compared to Cincinnati," Belt said. "We got out quickly, everything went smoothly."
Jay Lee is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.