SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants felt pretty good about themselves when they opened up a 7-0 lead against St. Louis in the third inning Monday night. They liked their chances of going on to win Game 7 of the National League Championship Series and advancing to the World Series. Which they did.
But lurking in the back of their minds was this: In the elimination Game 5 of their National League Division Series against the Nationals, the Cardinals fell into an early hole. On the road. And came back to win.
"Of course we knew about it. We were watching the game on the plane. We had to go either way and we had to see which city we were going to. And they did a great job. They battled right through to the end," center fielder Angel Pagan said.
"We weren't going to be overconfident. We had to finish up the game. It could have been 20-0 and we still had to go out there and get it done. Because if they come back and beat you, there's going to be a bad taste in your mouth. And that's what we didn't want."
Even though the Giants weren't taking anything for granted -- they tacked on single runs in the seventh and eighth -- they also couldn't imagine the Cardinals coming back against their bullpen the way St. Louis did against the Nationals.
"Obviously, until the last out you've still got to press. We said that the whole way. We have a lot of confidence in our pitching and our bullpen, but you've got to stay focused the whole time until it's over," said pitcher Barry Zito.
Third baseman Pablo Sandoval, however, said he wasn't worried at all.
"Because we have a great bullpen," he explained.
Paul Hagen is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.