It didn’t take long for the San Francisco Giants to finish the job in the NLCS and join the Kansas City Royals for the 2014 World Series, beating the St. Louis Cardinals 6-3 in game 4 to complete a 4-1 series win, getting a three run homer from Travis Ishikawa as a perfect way to kick off the celebrations.
The Giants had a notion that Madison Bumgarner, who ended up winning the series MVP, the first Giants pitcher to win the award since the NLCS MVP become something that was handed out, was going to shut out the Cardinals. Instead, he gave up three runs in eight innings, all three of them coming in the third and fourth innings. The first was a double by Jon Jay, helped by some bad fielding, and in the 4th two home runs from Matt Adams and Tony Cruz.
The Cardinals held a 3-2 lead, almost until the end. The big mistake turned out to be taking out Adam Wainwright, who was getting better the longer the game drew on. He allowed only four hits and two runs in seven full innings, striking out seven batters. But after throwing 97 pitches, he was pulled out, and that was possibly the decision that cost the Cardinals their last chance to try and extend this series a bit longer.
Michael Morse came on to pinch hit for Bumgarner and gave his team full value with one plate appearance and one home run off of Pat Neshek. All of a sudden, a stadium that is one of the most difficult in baseball to hit home runs in was seeing big hits go into the stands on almost every at-bat. After the Giants managed to get out of a loaded bases situation in the ninth, the stage was set for Ishikawa to win the game and the series.
Santiago Casilla nearly let everything fall apart in the ninth by allowing one hit and walking two others but Jeremy Affeldt came on to get that final out. With two runners already on and just one out, Ishikawa walked up to face Michael Wacha. Ishikawa hit his first home run of the series, and the veteran who was on the Giants when they won the World Series in 2010 before moving on to play for several teams, got his big moment in the spotlight.
The Cardinals lost to the Giants in 2012 in the NLCS, but it took them seven games to bow down. This time, it seemed like it was much easier dispatching of them in their fourth consecutive NLCS they’ve played in. For the Giants, it is the third World Series in the last five years, winning the previous two against the Rangers and the Detroit Tigers. The last time the Giants made the World Series and lost was in 2002, losing in seven games to the Los Angeles Angels.