ST. LOUIS, OCT. 13 -- San Francisco Giants right fielder Candy Maldonado saw Tony Pena swing, and that's about all he saw. Catcher Bob Melvin saw third base, and that's about all he saw.

So both plays went against the Giants tonight and were crucial points in the St. Louis Cardinals' 1-0 victory before 55,331 at Busch Stadium, forcing the first seventh game in National League Championship Series history.

Maldonado lost Pena's second-inning fly ball in the lights and a routine out became a triple. Pena scored on Jose Oquendo's fly ball to Maldonado because Maldonado's throw went up the third base line.

With two on and none out in the fifth and Melvin the base runner at second, pitcher Dave Dravecky sent a bunt toward third. It was a good bunt, but Cardinals third baseman Terry Pendleton decided to go for Melvin anyway. It was a close play, and third base umpire Dave Pallone called Melvin out. No San Francisco base runner reached third all night.

"It was unfortunate how they scored that run," Giants Manager Roger Craig said. "Candy makes a decent throw, he's out easy."

Let's start with Play No. 1.

Pena led off the second with a fly to mid-right off Dravecky. The right field carpet was wet, but Maldonado said that was not the reason he slid.

"I saw the ball come off the bat," he said. "I wanted to charge the ball." But then, all went white for the fifth-year right fielder. Although Busch Stadium is not known as an especially difficult park for outfielders, he lost the ball in a bank of lights.

"That's why I turned to slide, to see it come down out of the lights," he said. "It hit my arm. It's the same thing as when you play in the daytime. You may have glasses, but if the ball doesn't get out of the sun it doesn't matter, because you can't see it."

The ball bounced to the wall, and Pena wound up at third with a triple. Oquendo then lifted a fly to Maldonado, who got a bad jump on the ball, taking about four steps to reach it. But he seemed to collect himself enough to be able to make a play at the plate when Pena tagged.

"When I got to third base, {coach} Nick Leyva told me to tag up on a fly ball and go," Pena said. "I was halfway home when I saw the throw coming in."

"I knew as soon as the ball was hit," Maldonado said, "and the way I had to go after the ball, he was going to tag up."

After catching the ball, Maldonado whirled and uncorked a crazy throw toward the plate.

Giants first baseman Will Clark saw the ball and had a split-second to decide whether or not to cut it off. "I thought of cutting it, but the only problem was I would have problems throwing it, because it was low and coming in on me," Clark said. "After it passed me, it started turning more away from me . . . "

"I stood right in the base line, and {Pena} went way around," Melvin said. "If I'm standing at home, there's no way he can get to the plate, but he had room outside. It's a tough play {for Maldonado}, because he's throwing back across his body the other way."

"On that play, I felt like I did everything I had to do," Maldonado said. "I didn't want to throw the ball up the line. I wanted to throw the man out. It didn't happen."

On to Play No. 2.

Melvin (three for three, three singles) opened the fifth with a single off John Tudor. Jose Uribe followed with a line single to center. Dravecky then took two Tudor fastballs inside before dropping the near-perfect bunt.

Pendleton quickly turned and threw to third, where Melvin, shortstop Ozzie Smith and the ball met, more or less simultaneously.

"I just saw the bag," Melvin said. "I didn't even see Ozzie. It was a bang-bang play."

Third base coach Don Zimmer had a full view of Smith, Melvin and Pallone. "The way I saw, I thought he was safe at the time," Zimmer said. "The ump said it wasn't even close. Then, when I came in {to the dugout}, they said on the {television} replay that he was out. {Pallone} won, and I lost."

To get to their first World Series since 1962, the Giants must win tomorrow with Atlee Hammaker (10-10 during the regular season, but only 1-8 on the road) on the mound.

Hammaker said he wasn't going to think about the crowd Wednesday, which engulfed left fielder Jeffrey Leonard in a storm of coins, beer and cowbells all night.

"We've just got to come out tomorrow and focus on the game," Hammaker said, "not how the crowd's going to act. It's not a two-game series anymore, it's a one-game series."