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The big winners of Game Four's match-up between the Cardinals and Giants? The hitters. The two sides combined to score more than 10 runs in the series for the first time on Wednesday night. (In the previous two games, the final score had been 5-4; as if that one extra run were taunting them.) Together, the Cardinals and Giants hitters notched 22 hits (six of which went for extra bases) and 10 walks. It was a good night.

Unsurprisingly, it was a bad night for the game's starting pitchers. Neither Ryan Vogelsong nor Shelby Miller had an expiration date exceeding the fourth inning. Vogelsong was lifted for a pinch-hitter during the bottom of the third, and Miller was removed during the bottom of the fourth in favor of a reliever. Fittingly enough, it was the first time in the series that a starter had lasted fewer than four innings—and it happened twice.

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The other big winners from Game Four began the night in San Francisco's bullpen.

Yusmeiro Petit provided Bruce Bochy with three scoreless innings out of the pen, tallying twice as many strikeouts as baserunners. From there Bochy got creative. He started the seventh with Jeremy Affeldt, removed him for Jean Machi three batters later and then, after Machi threw one pitch, went to Javier Lopez. The popcorn effect worked: Bochy turned the game over to Sergio Romo and Santiago Casilla in the eighth and ninth, as usual, and the Giants were soon forming handshake lines. Altogether, San Francisco's relievers combined for six innings, six baserunners, and zero runs.

Those poor arms in the St. Louis bullpen weren't as fortunate. Mike Matheny had to feel uneasy from the start, when left-handed specialist Randy Choate struggled his way through a third of an inning. Carlos Martinez then walked two batters during his inning before Marco Gonzales yielded the decisive three runs in the sixth (albeit not on his own). Seth Maness got in on the tightrope action in the seventh, but Pat Neshek was his usual bright spot in the eighth.

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Choate's entrance did raise some eyebrows. Matheny had seemingly wanted him to face Brandon Belt in the bottom of the third. Problem was, Choate hadn't warmed yet. Matheny let Miller face Belt (who he retired on a fly out) and then allowed him three more batters, including two lefties, before pulling him. You have to figure Matheny wanted to milk another inning from Miller against the bottom of the order and it just didn't work out. Still, while it didn't result in any harm being done, it was one of those sequences that made you ponder whether Matheny had reacted a heartbeat or two too slow.

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If not Miller, the big goat on St. Louis' side of things will be Matt Adams. Though he recorded two hits and drove in a run, he also botched consecutive plays during the sixth inning that allowed the tying and go-ahead runs to score. Placing the entire loss on Adams' back seems harsh, but the truth of the matter is defensive mistakes like his get magnified in tight games. Factor in the circumstances—the word of the game was pivotal—and he needed a bigger night at the plate to overshadow his throwing woes.

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Kolten Wong added two more extra-base hits to his postseason total, giving him seven in 10 games. He had 29 extra-base hits in 113 regular-season games. Makes sense.

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Despite all the will-he-or-won't-he drama surrounding Yadier Molina, somehow A.J. Pierzynski was able to announce his presence with a bit of gamesmanship.

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In case you were keeping track: neither Tim Lincecum nor Michael Wacha has appeared in a game this postseason.

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Wacha might only get one more shot. The Giants, with the ever-talented Madison Bumgarner on the mound, will try to advance to a date with the Royals in the World Series on Thursday night.

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dcoonce
10/16
The Lincecum absence is puzzling, in that he was effective in a bullpen role in the Giants' previous world series. I can't imagine he's hurt. I'm surprised that Wacha is on the roster, frankly. If he's not coming into a game in which his team's starter is knocked out in the 4th, then Wacha's not pitching period. Which means Mike Matheny is short two roster spots (Yadi, Wacha) in the NLCS, which is a stupid way to construct a roster.And the Cards did this last year, too, played with a short bench in the postseason, as they wouldn't use Miller or Cruz. I don't know what the leverage advantage is to playing with a full bench as opposed to a limited one, but any slight advantage counts.
rweiler
10/16
Lincecum's velocity is down in the high 80's and his command is nonexistent. As near as i can figure the only reason he is on the roster is out of respdct for past accomplishments. The odd thing is that Petit has similar velocity and makes his fair share of location mistakes but somehow gets away with it.
dcoonce
10/19
I think the difference is probably that Petit has always had this velocity, and learned how to pitch with it. Lincecum used to have elite velo and hasn't seemed to adjust to less. The interesting thing is that, when he was drafted, talent evaluators seemed to think he wouldn't last long as a starter, and it seems like they're right. He had a fantastic and short starting career, and could possibly have a decent bullpen career if he can adjust to less velocity.
mschieve
10/16
You praise the hitters in last nights game when four of the 10 runs were scored without someone getting a hit. Interesting.
granbergt
10/16
Lincecum should not even be on the roster at this point, honestly. I loved that the hometown announcers called out Pierzynski for being a "clown".
mdthomp
10/16
If only they had no manager. That would be an improvement