for this game

Giants nip Cards again, inch closer to Fall Classic

Oct 16, 2014 - 4:44 AM San Francisco, CA ( - The Giants find themselves on the brink of another World Series appearance after scratching out a Game 4 victory on Wednesday with a shutdown bullpen effort and a three-run sixth inning.

Two of the runs in the deciding frame came in standard San Francisco fashion -- without hits -- and the other from the irreplaceable Buster Posey.

Posey finished with three RBI as the Giants overcame an early deficit and downed the St. Louis Cardinals, 6-4, on a calm night at AT&T Park.

As atypical as the weather was, the game played out in much the same way the Giants have become accustomed to in their recent run of postseason success.

Their bullpen, led by Yusmeiro Petit (1-0), only allowed one runner past first base over the final six innings, while its offense quietly pounded out 11 hits -- nine singles -- en route to a commanding 3-1 series lead.

San Francisco can advance to the Fall Classic for the third time in five years on Thursday with ace Madison Bumgarner on the mound. The Cardinals will counter with Adam Wainwright, who has not made it through five innings in either of his postseason outings this year.

The Cardinals again dipped into the bullpen on Wednesday after Shelby Miller was knocked out in the fourth frame.

Marco Gonzales (0-1) entered in the sixth trying to hold a 4-3 lead and was charged with three runs, though two came across on botched ground balls hit to first baseman Matt Adams.

With runners on second and third and one out, Gregor Blanco bounced a two- hopper to Adams that was fielded cleanly. Adams had plenty of time to throw home but double-clutched and one-hopped newly-inserted catcher Tony Cruz, allowing Juan Perez to slide in as the tying run.

"When you're playing a team like this and you give extra outs it is going to come back to bite you," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said.

Adams then had a chance to turn an inning-ending double play when Joe Panik hit a sharp grounder down the line, but after stepping on first, Adams again flinched on his throw and was wide of the bag.

Brandon Crawford scored to give the Giants their first lead, and Posey added an insurance run with an RBI single off reliever Seth Maness.

"When you put the ball in play, good things happen," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "If you're not hitting long balls, you have to find ways to manufacture runs."

The Giants have been nothing short of remarkable in doing just that, scoring 12 of their last 22 runs without recording a hit.

Though the two-run deficit was familiar to the Cardinals, whose four wins this postseason have come after they trailed or were tied going into the seventh, they had no answer for San Francisco's relievers.

Santiago Casilla shook off a two-out single in the ninth to finish off the win and record his second save of the series.

The bullpen heroics were only needed because postseason miser Ryan Vogelsong was unceremoniously chased after just three innings of work.

Vogelsong had been untouchable in his brief postseason career and was looking to join Curt Schilling as the only pitchers in MLB history with six straight playoff starts of allowing one or fewer runs.

That streak came to an abrupt end as the Cardinals had his number early.

Matt Carpenter legged out a two-bagger in the away first, Jon Jay drew a walk and Adams sliced an opposite-field single into left field to knock in a run.

The Giants answered in their half, as Blanco doubled off Jay's glove in center, moved to third on Panik's base hit and scored on Posey's sac fly.

Blanco duplicated Jay's miscue when Kolten Wong drove one deep to center leading off the second. The ball glanced off the top of Blanco's glove, Wong was awarded a double and A.J. Pierzynski drove him in with a base hit through the middle.

St. Louis began the third with another double, this one from Matt Holliday, and Adams' base hit put runners on the corners. Jhonny Peralta grounded into a double play to bring in another run, and Wong followed with his third homer of the postseason -- a no-doubter into the seats in right.

Miller gave two runs back in the home third. Joaquin Arias, pinch-hitting for Vogelsong, led off with a base hit and eventually scored on Posey's two-out single to left. After Pablo Sandoval walked, Hunter Pence singled to pull the Giants within 4-3.

Game Notes

Carpenter's eight extra-base hits tied the MLB postseason high for a leadoff hitter, joining Derek Jeter, Rickey Henderson and Lenny Dykstra ... St. Louis has 13 homers in eight playoff games to the Giants' two ... Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina sat out a second straight game due to an oblique injury ... San Francisco is 15-5 at home in the NLCS, the best winning percentage of any major league team with at least 10 games of LCS play ... St. Louis was ahead 3-1 on the Giants in the 2012 NLCS before losing the final three games ... Sandoval has reached base safely in 22 straight postseason games, breaking Barry Bonds' franchise record set in 2003 ... Bonds threw out the ceremonial first pitch.