Brandon Belt

Giants come back from three runs down to take 3-1 NLCS lead over Cardinals

It’s humbling for just about everyone but the Giants themselves, as predicting what’ll happen in this series is impossible. The Cardinals certainly figured they would’ve picked up a game at AT&T by now. Juan Perez is drawing walks in playoff games, and Giants fans are on the edge of their seats in hopes of seeing this guy pitch.

Tim Lincecum Giants Play Ball Lunch mustache glasses suit

No, not the guy with the green tie. The guy behind him.

Yusmeiro Petit

Yeah, that guy.

The Giants came back from a 4-1 deficit with five unanswered runs. Why? Because they continue to put pressure on opposing defenses, and their pitching staff is deeper than the Cardinals’.

This was the game to steal, if you’re St. Louis. That doesn’t mean the Cardinals can’t steal Game 5 on Thursday, and that would actually be a theft with Madison Bumgarner on the mound. No, maybe a better way of putting it would be to say the Cardinals had a game right in front of their faces, but MVPetit and MVPosey snatched it away like a couple kids ripping the tablecloth out from under a delicious dinner.

Ryan Vogelsong came into this game with a near mythical postseason record, and sample size expansion bit him in the ass. But the Giants were more than prepared, because Bruce Bochy wasn’t forced to use Yusmeiro Petit in Game 3. Petit has been one of the best pitchers in the world for more than a couple months now (I feel like a broken record, writing that again), and at this point you have to wonder if Bochy would consider starting him again in 2014 if given the opportunity. That’s looking too far ahead, and so is this proclamation: he’s definitely in the rotation next year, unless he falls apart during the winter and we find out this version of Petit was just a mirage. That seems doubtful.

Petit was needed in the fourth inning after Kolten Wong drilled a home run in the bottom of the third. I’m not really sure what else to say but “wow.” Wong is soooo good. The Giants are lucky that Matt Holliday is only hitting slightly better than Jayson Werth in the NLDS, or they’d be in deep trouble.

But the Giants have the kind of guys who can dig them out of three-run holes. Like Joaquin Arias (this season is truly hilarious, isn’t it?), who singled to lead off the bottom of the third and later scored on Buster Posey’s two-out, two-strike single to left. Posey drove in a run on a sacrifice fly, the single that brought in Arias, and another single that knocked in Gregor Blanco for the game’s final run. Posey was the main offensive hero, but of course there was more Giants ground attack silliness.

But just look at this guy. I’m suddenly hungry for apple pie, and I probably like apple pie less than pretty much anyone you know.

Buster Posey MLB

Perez walked(!) to start it all in the sixth, and Brandon Crawford singled to turn Tuesday’s 10th inning upside-down in the most delightful of ways. Matt Duffy — who’s probably going to be on this team for at least five years (just a hunch) — laid down a perfect bunt, and then it was the Matt Adams show.

Adams made a pretty slick play on Blanco’s laser in the third. He wasn’t the Brooks Conrad of this game, or even the Randy Choate, because they were role players who made physical errors. Adams made a mental error when he charged Blanco’s grounder in the sixth and threw home late. Then Joe Panik grounded one to Adams, who stepped on first and threw a lollipop to second that was only slightly more accurate than Aaron Barrett’s pitches to Pablo Sandoval in Game 4 of the NLDS. He discussed life and the pain of dreams broken with first base umpire Greg Gibson, but the conversation didn’t appear to lift Adams’ spirits.

Matt Adams NLCS Game 4

Things only got worse for Adams, who grounded out into the shift to strand two in the seventh. It was yet another strong outing by Jeremy Affeldt, but on this night he was the least effective reliever. It was that kind of game for the Giants.

Extra BASGs

— October weather in San Francisco (i.e. the lack of crazy, goosebump-creating wind) is the best.

AT&T Park 2014 NLCS Game 4

— A.J. Pierzynski is an honorary member of the Los Angeles Clippers after today’s flop. Always great to hear Mike Krukow call a player a “clown,” and Krukow was more than happy to do so after Travis Ishikawa’s bat hit Pierzynski’s helmet and, after a split second, Pierzynski crumbled like someone hit him with a tranquilizer dart.

— Who was the Cardinals’ starting pitcher again? Oh yeah, Shelby Miller. It’s hard to keep track of the pitchers on that team who aren’t Adam Wainwright or John Lackey, and as a result there’s a feeling of “same dudeness” on that staff that I just can’t shake. Shelby Miller is Michael Wacha is Lance Lynn. I’m pretty sure I heard either Tom Verducci or Harold Reynolds describe Miller as a pitcher who’d “a lot like Lance Lynn” when I watched the game after getting home.

— I attended this game as a ticket-holder (not as many photos today, because the angle was a little tougher), and it’ll almost certainly be my last this year. Not because I didn’t enjoy myself — more like my Stubhub rewards credits have run dry and the tickets are only going to get more expensive. It’s pretty easy to get jaded after covering sports just about every day, so it was cool to feel the cheers and chants and not just hear them as some sort of fan sidenote from the press box.

— Joe Panik’s contributions were easy to push aside — mostly because he went 1-for-5. But he’s fearless on double plays, he’s got a shortstop’s arm at second base, and he hit multiple balls hard in Game 4 (I thought he had a double in the third inning on that fly ball he hit to John Jay).

— Hunter Pence is heating up. If the Giants are ever going to hit another home run, it sure seems like he’d be a likely candidate (along with Posey … which means it’ll probably come from either Arias or Perez).

— Santiago Casilla struck Matt Holliday out looking to end the game, which means anyone reading this owes Casilla the drink of his choice if they see him around town.

— Crawford and Hunter Pence both went 2-for-3 with a walk, so they should get a mention. You know the team is doing pretty well when you’re trying to shoehorn contributors into the end of a post.

— This scene is quickly becoming a tradition at the end of Giants wins.

Brandon Belt Pablo Sandoval 2014 NLCS Game 4

— The Giants need one more win. The Royals are waiting.

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