ST. LOUIS – Adam Wainwright threw seven innings of four-hit ball and the St. Louis Cardinals roughed up Tim Lincecum and the San Francisco Giants in an 8-3 rout Thursday night that gave them a 3-1 lead in the NL championship series.
Matt Holliday, Jon Jay and Yadier Molina had two RBI apiece to lead a 12-hit outburst by a team that batted just .198 through the first three games of the series.
The defending champion Cardinals can wrap up their second straight trip to the World Series as a wild card with a victory at home tonight in Game 5. Lance Lynn faces Giants lefty Barry Zito. Lincecum was a bust in his first postseason start since the World Series clincher over Texas in 2010, giving up four runs in 4 2/3 innings.
Wainwright bounced back from a rough outing in Game 5 of the NL division series, striking out five and walking none for his first career postseason victory as a starter. The lone damage against him came on Hunter Pences first homer and RBI of the postseason, a second-inning clout estimated at 451 feet that soared over the visitors bullpen into the bleachers in left-center 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 in the 2006 clincher over the Tigers.
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.
Pence, who called himself the goat of Game 3 after stranding seven runners, hit the second-longest home run by an opposing player at 7-year-old Busch Stadium with a 451-foot drive that sailed over the visitors bullpen into the bleachers in left-center.