Listening to this game on the radio, with the energy of the crowd audible and even palpable, there was no way the Giants were going to lose. Even when they fell behind 4-1, and runs are at a premium for this team, it seemed like just a matter of time. And that it was. Despite Ryan Vogelsong faltering early, the Giants came back to win the fourth game of the series, 6-4. They are now one victory away from winning--NOT clinching--this series.
They did it with their now familiar combination of scratch away, keep the pressure on, and timely two out (two strike) hits. They brought in three of their six runs without a hit. They got 18 men on base, and didn't get anything bigger than two doubles. With walks, bunts, good baserunning and strategy, they forced some errors or at least imperfect plays, scoring runs that way.
Buster Posey (for the first time hearing a stadium chant "Posey! Posey!" when he came to bat) drove in three runs with two clutch hits and a sacrifice fly. Manager Bruce Bochy orchestrated perfection from his bullpen, starting with three shutdown innings by Petit. Whoever they actually name doesn't matter: Bruce Bochy is Manager of the Year.
The Cardinals seemed rattled and deflated. Their pitching was erratic, and so was their fielding. They're hitting home runs, and by that measure they should be leading the series. But they ain't.
Tomorrow it's a first game replay: Madison Bumgarner against Adam Wainright. Wainright wasn't right in that game--announcer Mike Krukow isn't sure it's his elbow exactly, but he hasn't been himself for his last several starts. If the Giants get to him early, it might be enough to send the Cards into terminal shock. It will take a mighty effort for the Cards to win this fifth game. The Giants have three to win one, and this one's with their ace in front of the hometown fans. (Although Bumgarner actually has a better record on the road.)
Of course if they lose it's a series again. It's unlikely they'll have Bumgarner for a seventh game, and he's the only starter who has mystified the Cards this series. The Giants want to wrap it up tomorrow, but they won't panic if they don't. The mental health of the Cards is another question right now.
The Royals have swept the Orioles: with hitting for the first two games and pitching for the second two. Once again, if the Giants get that far, they will be the World Series underdogs.