SAN FRANCISCO – Ryan Vogelsong and the San Francisco Giants saved their season once more, pushing St. Louis to a winner-take-all Game 7 in the NL championship series.

Vogelsong struck out a career-best nine batters in another postseason gem, and the Giants avoided elimination for a second straight game by beating St. Louis 6-1 on Sunday night.

Marco Scutaro delivered a two-run double and Buster Posey drove in his first run of the series with a groundout in the first inning as San Francisco struck early to support Vogelsong.Pitching to chants of “Vogey! Vogey!” from the sellout crowd of 43,070 at AT&T Park, the right-hander didn’t allow a hit until Daniel Descalso’s broken-bat single to center with two outs in the fifth. Vogelsong struck out the side in the first and had already fanned five through two innings.

“This place is going to be loud, I can tell you that,” Vogelsong said of Monday night.

Scutaro had no chance for a collision with Matt Holliday this time. In their first game back at AT&T Park since Holliday took out the second baseman with a hard slide in Game 2, Holliday was scratched about an hour before first pitch because of tightness in his lower back, and Allen Craig replaced him in left field.

It hardly mattered the way Vogelsong pitched.

The Cardinals managed their only run on Craig’s two-out single in the sixth. St. Louis had gone 15 innings without scoring.

After taking a 3-1 lead back home at Busch Stadium, Mike Matheny’s Cardinals will have to find some offense in a hurry if they want to get back to the World Series.

“We’ve got to make some adjustments but our team’s done that all season,” Matheny said. “One thing I know is these guys take these to heart.”

The Giants got to St. Louis ace Chris Carpenter again. The Cardinals winningest postseason pitcher with 10 victories looked out of sync for the second straight start — and he left with a nearly identical line as in his 7-1 Game 2 loss here last Monday, down to the hits, earned runs, unearned runs and innings.

Carpenter was done in by one big inning this time, too. He allowed six hits and five runs, two earned, in four innings.

Vogelsong reached on shortstop Pete Kozma’s fielding error in the second, scoring Brandon Belt after he led off the inning with a triple. Scutaro came up two batters later and doubled home two more runs.

The 10 unearned runs allowed by the Cardinals are the most in an NLCS, according to STATS, LLC — topping the nine given up by the Braves in 2001 and Dodgers in 1985.

San Francisco never faced an elimination game in 2010 on the way to winning the World Series, but has had to go the distance in each of its first two postseason series this year. They became the first team in major league history to come back from a 2-0 deficit to win a best-of-five series by winning three straight on the road as they did at Cincinnati.

They have Vogelsong for this year’s run.

“He was on top of his game again,” Giants Manager Bruce Bochy said. “He’s probably been as consistent as any starter this year.”

The Giants put pressure on Carpenter right away.

Scutaro drew a one-out walk and Pablo Sandoval doubled off the wall in center on a ball that eluded Jon Jay. Posey followed with a groundout to third to score Scutaro for a 1-0 lead.