The Giants bats came alive last night as they won 11-4, pounding out 16 hits, with everyone in the starting lineup getting at least one hit. Royal Manager Ned Yost did the smart thing and saved his big three relievers for another day, after the game got out of hand in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings with the Giants scoring two, three and four runs in those innings.
Yost tried to hold the score at 4-4 by bringing in 21 year old Brandon Finnegan to start the sixth inning after his excellent, but brief, performance in Game 3, getting out of the seventh inning with a fly ball out and a strikeout. Finnegan gave up two singles and a sacrifice bunt before walking Buster Posey intentionally to load the bases with one out. That was the time to get the inexperienced Finnegan out of there but he let him pitch to Hunter Pence, a right hander, and he got him to hit into a force play at the plate.
The next two batters, Pablo Sandoval and Brandon Belt, singled and it was 7-4 with two men on and he still left him in. He stopped the bleeding there getting Juan Perez on a grounder to second but the Giants led 7-4. Finnegan, who had drawn rave reviews the night before for pitching in the series in the same year he pitched in the College World Series, never should have been sent out to start the seventh. There were plenty of pitchers in the bullpen who could have done that.
Instead, Yost sent his prize rookie, who had just given up three runs to blow a 4-4 tie, out to face Brandon Crawford, who singled. He then walked Mike Morse, pinch hitting for pitcher Jeremy Affeldt. Then Yost pulled Finnegan and brought in Tim Collins and by the time the inning was over, the Giants were up 11-4 and the game was over.
Tonight’s Game 5, features a rematch of Game 1 with Giant left hander Madison Bumgarner facing the Royals right hander James Shields. Shields lasted 3 innings in Game 1, giving up 5 runs on 7 hits while Bumgarner went 7 innings, giving up just 1 run for the win as the Giants won 7-1.
Big Game James, as Shields is called, has had four starts in the post season this year, never lasting more than six innings and giving up 15 runs in 19 innings. Bumgarner has pitched in 38.2 innings in 5 starts and has given up just 6 runs for a sparkling 1.40 ERA.
There is no reason to believe that Shields will find some magic and silence the Giants bats and there is no reason to believe that the Royals will find the key to hitting Bumgarner. The Giants should take this one and go to Kansas City on Tuesday needing one game to win it all.