After managing only three runs and 12 hits through the first three games of the NLDS -- not to mention striking out a whopping 26 times -- the San Francisco Giants decided to start hitting the ball Wednesday afternoon, defeating the Reds 8-3 and forcing a decisive Game 5 Thursday in Cincinnati.
You would think that early home runs from unlikely sources like Gregor Blanco and Angel Pagan -- who hit just 13 big flies combined in the regular season -- and a massive blast from Pablo Sandoval to break the game open in the seventh, would make the Giants' offense the hero of Game 4.
The story of this game should probably be the offense. With eight runs, the Giants probably would have won if Zito pitched a complete game. But Lincecum's the story. Fifty-five pitches, 42 strikes.
Fifty-five pitches, 42 strikes. Goodness, that was fantastic to watch...
[H]eck, maybe Lincecum needed to feel disrespected to pitch like this. I don't know how these things work. All I know is that Tim Lincecum was the winning pitcher in an elimination game he wasn't even supposed to pitch. And he looked better than we could ever imagine, even though we should have been able to imagine a helluva lot because he's Tim Lincecum.
Lincecum made his second 2012 postseason appearance out of the bullpen and was absolutely lights-out but for a sacrifice fly in the sixth. The Freak pounded the strike zone for 4⅓ innings, striking out six and walking none, earning his first postseason win since his Game 5 World Series-clinching victory in 2010.
First pitch is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. ET. The game will be aired on TBS.