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San Francisco Giants catcher Hector Sanchez can't handle the throw as St. Louis Cardinals' Matt Carpenter scores from second on a single by Matt Holliday during the fifth inning of Game 4 of baseball's National League championship series Thursday, Oct. 18, 2012, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
MLB playoffs: Cardinals rough up Lincecum to take 3-1 series lead in NLCS
NLCS » St. Louis roughs up Giant ace Lincecum to take 3-1 series lead.
First Published Oct 18 2012 10:50 pm • Last Updated Feb 07 2013 11:31 pm

St. Louis • One more win and another bunch of wild-card Cardinals get their chance to repeat.

Adam Wainwright threw seven innings of four-hit ball and St. Louis roughed up Tim Lincecum and the San Francisco Giants in an 8-3 rout Thursday night that gave the Cardinals a 3-1 lead in the NL championship series.

At a glance

Cardinals 8, Giants 3

San Fran AB R H BI BB SO Avg.

Pagan cf 4 0 2 0 0 0 .333

Scutaro 2b 4 1 2 0 0 0 .471

Posey 1b 4 0 0 0 0 0 .143

Sandoval 3b 4 1 1 2 0 0 .235

H.Sanchez c 4 0 0 0 0 3 .000

Pence rf 4 1 1 1 0 0 .133

G.Blanco lf 3 0 0 0 0 0 .154

B.Crawford ss 2 0 0 0 0 1 .231

Kontos p 0 0 0 0 0 0 ---

Mijares p 0 0 0 0 0 0 ---

Mota p 0 0 0 0 0 0 ---

Affeldt p 0 0 0 0 0 0 ---

b-A.Huff ph 1 0 0 0 0 1 .333

Ja.Lopez p 0 0 0 0 0 0 ---

Lincecum p 1 0 0 0 0 1 .000

Arias ss 2 0 0 0 0 0 .000

Totals 33 3 6 3 0 6

St. Louis AB R H BI BB SO Avg.

Jay cf 5 1 2 2 0 1 .235

Carpenter 1b 3 2 1 0 2 1 .333

Holliday lf 5 1 2 2 0 0 .235

Chambers lf 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000

Craig rf 3 1 1 1 0 1 .083

Y.Molina c 4 1 2 2 0 0 .313

Freese 3b 4 0 1 0 0 1 .267

Descalso 2b 4 1 1 0 0 1 .214

Kozma ss 4 1 2 1 0 1 .286

Wainwright p 1 0 0 0 1 0 .000

a-S.Robinson ph

1 0 0 0 0 1 .000

Salas p 0 0 0 0 0 0 ---

Totals 34 8 12 8 3 7

San Fran 010 000 002 — 3 6 1

St. Louis 200 022 20x — 8 12 0

a-struck out for Wainwright in the 7th. b-struck out for Affeldt in the 8th.

E—Sandoval (2).

LOB—San Francisco 3, St. Louis 7. 2B—Scutaro (2), Jay (1), M.Carpenter (1), Y.Molina (1). 3B—Pagan (1). HR—Pence (1), off Wainwright Sandoval (1), off Salas. RBIs—Sandoval 2 (3), Pence (1), Jay 2 (3), Holliday 2 (2), Craig (1), Y.Molina 2 (2), Kozma (2). CS—Kozma (1). S—Wainwright. SF—Craig.

Runners left in scoring position—San Francisco 2 (Scutaro, Sandoval) St. Louis 3 (Descalso, Holliday 2). RISP—San Francisco 1 for 5 St. Louis 5 for 12.

Runners moved up—Posey 2.

San Fran IP H R ER BB SO ERA

Lincecum L, 0-1

42⁄3 6 4 4 3 3 5.40

Kontos 2⁄3 2 2 2 0 0 13.50

Mijares 1⁄3 1 0 0 0 0 0.00

Mota 2⁄3 2 2 2 0 1 27.00

Affeldt 2⁄3 1 0 0 0 1 0.00

Ja.Lopez 1 0 0 0 0 2 0.00

St. Louis IP H R ER BB SO ERA

Wainwright W, 1-0

7 4 1 1 0 5 1.29

Salas 2 2 2 2 0 1 6.00

Inherited runners-scored—Kontos 1-0, Mijares 2-2, Mota 1-0, Affeldt 1-1. WP—Affeldt.

Umpires—Home, Greg Gibson First, Ted Barrett Second, Jerry Layne Third, Gary Darling Right, Bill Miller Left, Chris Guccione.

T—3:17. A—47,062 (43,975).

Game 5

San Francisco (Zito 15-8) at St. Louis (Lynn 18-7)

Friday, 6:07 p.m., Ch. 13

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The defending World Series champions can wrap up their second straight pennant as a wild card with a victory at home Friday night in Game 5. Lance Lynn faces Giants lefty Barry Zito, and a Cardinals win would set up a 2006 World Series rematch with Detroit.

"We’ve got to close them out tomorrow," Wainwright said.

Matt Holliday, Jon Jay and Yadier Molina had two RBIs apiece to lead a 12-hit outburst by a team that batted just .198 through the first three games against San Francisco.

"They had their backs against the wall against the Reds and won three in a row, so we’ve still got our work cut out for us and this series is by no means over," Holliday said.

Lincecum was a bust in his first postseason start since the 2010 World Series clincher over Texas, giving up four runs in 4 2-3 innings.

The two-time Cy Young Award winner with the quirky delivery earned a shot based on nearly spotless relief work earlier in the postseason but reverted to regular-season form, when he was 10-15 with a 5.18 ERA, worst among qualifying starters in the National League.

Wainwright was a glorified cheerleader while rehabbing from reconstructive elbow surgery during the Cardinals’ improbable title drive last fall after earning the wild card on the final day of the season and then upsetting the favored Phillies, Brewers and Rangers to give manager Tony La Russa a chance to retire on top.

Under rookie manager Mike Matheny, the 88-win Cardinals were the final team to qualify this year, too. Once again, they’ve stepped up their game.


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Wainwright bounced back from a poor outing in Game 5 of the NL division series against Washington, striking out five and walking none for his first postseason victory as a starter.

"It was a big motivator," he said. "I know that I’m good enough to pitch in the postseason, to carry this team deep into the game, give them a quality game, a quality outing. Last time I didn’t do it but I knew tonight if I just believed in myself and went out there and executed pitches I would be in good shape."

The lone damage against Wainwright came on Hunter Pence’s first homer and RBI of the postseason, a second-inning clout estimated at 451 feet that soared over the visitor’s bullpen into the left-center bleachers to cut the Cardinals’ lead to 2-1.

Now, the 14-game winner is on the verge of his first World Series as an active player since striking out Brandon Inge as the stand-in closer for injured Jason Isringhausen in the 2006 clincher over the Tigers.

"This whole experience is so special as it is," Wainwright said. "But to get back to that World Series is always the way to go."

Holliday wasn’t surprised by Wainwright’s strong performance.

"You expect Adam to pitch well and pitch like an ace, and he did," Holliday said. "His curveball was really good. He located his fastball. No surprise. We all expect Adam to pitch the way he pitched tonight, but sometimes things like the Washington game happen. But he’s tough as nails. We knew he’d pitch well."

Just 12 pitches in, the Cardinals had two hits and the lead, and Lincecum got a visit from pitching coach Dave Righetti. Jay opened the first with a single, Matt Carpenter walked on four pitches and Holliday singled up the middle for the lead. Allen Craig tacked on a sacrifice fly.

"I’ve just been working on my swing and I felt more comfortable tonight," Holliday said. "I was able to get some pitches to hit and hit them hard and good results, that always helps the confidence."

Lincecum escaped trouble in the second after issuing two more walks, one of them on five pitches to Wainwright. The Cardinals missed a chance to add on after Pete Kozma reached on third baseman Pablo Sandoval’s fielding error to open the inning when he was thrown out trying to steal.

Lincecum had retired eight in a row before running into trouble in the fifth.

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