Madison Bumgarner — the hottest starting pitcher remaining in this postseason — can pitch the Giants to the 2014 World Series with a victory in Game 5 of the NLCS on Thursday night in San Francisco.
The Giants went down early in Game 4 of the NLCS Wednesday at AT&T Park, with Ryan Vogelsong surrendering four earned runs on seven hits while failing to make it past the top of the third inning.
But the home team chipped away for two runs on RBI singles from Buster Posey and Hunter Pence in the bottom of the third inning (to make the score 4-3) and then went ahead for good in the bottom of the sixth inning (mounting a lead of 6-4, also the final score) courtesy of some shoddy defense by Cardinals first baseman Matt Adams and yet another set of questionable managerial moves by skipper Mike Matheny.
The Cardinals had the same amount of hits (11) as the Giants in Game 4, including a double and a home run from the red-hot Kolten Wong, but St. Louis failed to capitalize on some early opportunities to put the game out of reach and Giants manager Bruce Bochy seems to be perpetually four steps ahead of his counterpart.
The Cardinals will need something special — and unlikely — from Adam Wainwright in Game 5.