Giants Pounded 8-3 In Crucial Game 4, Face Elimination Friday


Oct 18, 2012; St. Louis, MO, USA; San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy (15) relieves starting pitcher Tim Lincecum (55) during the fifth inning of game four of the 2012 NLCS against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Hunter Pence ripped a home run in the top of the second inning. Imaginably, many would foresee a productive offensive night from the Giants given that Pence hasn’t done much of anything since the postseason began nearly two weeks ago. Coming into Game 4, Pence hadn’t collected an RBI in 31 at-bats, let alone a home run.

However, Pence’s home run wasn’t a representation of what was to come for the Giants. Cardinals’s starter Adam Wainwright threw his still effective 12-6 curveball often to freeze San Francisco’s bats. He punched out five over seven strong innings, and handed the ball to his sturdy bullpen to secure an 8-3 victory.

The Giants left 11 runners on base during Wednesday’s Game 3, blowing opportunity after opportunity. Thursday’s total in that department wasn’t nearly as inflated, but that’s because Wainwright and the rest of St.Louis’s pitching staff, only allowed two Giants’ base runners to reach third base. Angel Pagan triple in the top of the third inning and the other runner to reach third was Pagan again, tagging on Buster Posey’s fly ball to right field.

More importantly for Wainwright, in both of those events, the runners were on third with two outs, forcing the Giants to scratch up a hit to score, something that’s been a rarity throughout the postseason. They stayed true to that trend, going 1-for-5 with runners in scoring position on the night. The only hit was Pablo Sandoval’s two-run homer in the ninth inning off Fernando Salas.

Tim Lincecum’s dominance in a bullpen role didn’t translate into dominance from a starter’s role. During the regular season, he had a 7.64 ERA in the first inning which was easily the highest of any inning. Escaping that crucial first inning would be crucial for Lincecum, but he didn’t deliver the goods.

Shockingly enough, it was the first inning that nipped Lincecum as it had nipped him all regular season on Thursday night. He allowed three straight batters to reach base until recording an out. Jon Jay led off the game with a single, Matt Carpenter walked, and Matt Holliday broke out of his slump by singling home Jay to put his Cardinals on the board first.

Lincecum limited the damage, allowing just one more run to score in the inning on Allen Craig’s sacrifice fly which plated Carpenter. While he would go three consecutive innings unscathed, the Cardinals chased him from the game with a key fifth inning. Holliday collected his second RBI single, and Yaider Molina singled him home to extend the score to 4-1. Bruce Bochy removed Lincecum after Molina’s game-opening hit. Lincecum finished his pedestrian night with 4.2 innings pitched. To complete his line, he surrender six hits, walked three batters, and struck out three.

The Giants’ bullpen wouldn’t keep the game close, either. George Kontos allowed two runs in the sixth inning on back to back singles from the first two batters of the inning. The pitcher Wainwright bunted both over to set the table for Jay, who cleared the table with a two-run double off Jose Mirjares who inherited Konto’s runners.

After the sixth inning, both teams scored a pair. As aforementioned, the Giants scored on Sandoval’s two-run blast, while Cardinals piled on two runs in the seventh inning off Guillermo Mota to pad their lead.