After the Giants won Game 3 of the N.L. Championship Series on a Cardinals throwing error, third-base coach Tim Flannery asserted that, “We can score without hits. We’ve proven that.”
They proved it again Wednesday. And they’re one win away from the World Series as a result.
The Giants scored the game-tying and go-ahead runs in the sixth inning without needing a hit and beat the Cardinals, 6-4, in Game 4. They will send ace Madison Bumgarner to the mound on Thursday with a chance to clinch this series in five games.
Down 4-1 in the third inning, the Giants scored two runs in the third and three in another unorthodox rally in the sixth. Cardinals reliever Marco Gonzales walked Juan Perez, Brandon Crawford singled and Matt Duffy advanced them with a sacrifice bunt. Gregor Blanco then hit a chopper to first baseman Matt Adams, who was playing in.
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Adams charged the ball but double-clutched and made a low throw home as Perez dove across with the tying run and Crawford took third. A rough inning for Adams continued when he fielded Joe Panik’s grounder, stepped on first base and made a wide throw to second that left shortstop Jhonny Peralta no chance at tagging out Blanco.
Crawford scored on the play to give the Giants a 5-4 lead, and Buster Posey followed by lining a single to left-center to drive in Blanco. The Giants have scored a total of 18 runs in this series, eight on plays that did not involve a hit. They’ve scored two runs on errors, two on sacrifice flies, three on infield outs and one on a wild pitch.
Starter Ryan Vogelsong, who’d given up one run or fewer in his first five career playoff starts, departed after three innings having allowed four runs. But Yusmeiro Petit played a key role again with three innings of scoreless middle relief, allowing manager Bruce Bochy to save his bullpen for late matchups.
After the Giants took the lead, Bochy used three relievers in the seventh, bringing in left-hander Javier Lopez with two on and two out to face Adams, who grounded out. Sergio Romo threw a scoreless eighth that included retiring Kolten Wong -- who hit a walk-off homer against Romo in Game 2 -- on a comebacker.
Santiago Casilla allowed a two-out single to Jon Jay in the ninth but struck Matt Holliday out looking to bring the Giants within one win of their third World Series in five seasons.