Adam Wainwright earned his first postseason victory as a starter with the best of his three outings of the 2012 playoffs. Wainwright rebounded from his 2 1/3-inning outing against the Nationals in Game 5 of the National League Division Series by only needing 96 pitches to get through seven innings on Thursday. He is the first Cards starter to allow one run or less in seven or more innings in an NLCS game since Jeff Suppan, who did it twice in 2006 against the Mets.
Matt Holliday and Yadier Molina went 4-for-9 with four RBIs. The duo entered the game a combined 6-for-40 over the Cardinals' last five postseason games.
Molina has now hit safely in each of the four games this series, as well as the last seven Cards NLCS games dating back to Game 4 of the 2011 NLCS vs. the Brewers. His 29 hits in the NLCS are now tied with Jim Edmonds for the second-most in franchise NLCS history. Albert Pujols is the leader with 44.
Since the best-of-seven series was introduced in 1985, only six of 33 teams to hold a 3-1 lead in the League Championship Series have not advanced to the World Series. The last team to squander a 3-1 LCS lead was the 2007 Indians, who lost to the eventual World Series champion Red Sox. Only two teams, the 2003 Cubs and the 1996 Cardinals, have lost the NLCS after leading 3-1.
The Cards improved to 3-7 in NLCS Game 4s since 1985, winning their first such game since the 1996 NLCS against the Braves. This marks the first time since that 1996 series, which they lost in seven games, that they have led 3-1 in an NLCS.
The Cardinals have lost a postseason series three times in which they initially gained a 3-1 advantage (1968 World Series, '85 World Series and '96 NLCS).
Thursday's loss marked the Giants' first two-game road losing streak since July 7-8 against the Pirates at PNC Park.
San Francisco snapped a streak of four consecutive Game 4 wins, falling to 17-12 all time in such contests.
Through nine postseason games, St. Louis has averaged 5.5 runs. Thursday marked the fourth time this postseason they scored eight runs or more. St. Louis is 26-1 all time in postseason games in which it scores at least eight runs.
San Francisco's Tim Lincecum made the shortest postseason start of his career, lasting only 4 2/3 innings. His second-shortest start came in Game 1 of the 2010 World Series, when he lasted 5 2/3 innings in an 11-7 win over the Rangers. The four earned runs he allowed Thursday tied that Game 1 of the 2010 World Series as the most he has allowed in a postseason outing. Thursday marked his first postseason start since Game 5 of the 2010 World Series, which clinched the series for the Giants.
Lincecum, who allowed two runs in the first inning of Game 4, gave up a Major League-leading 28 first-inning runs in the regular season. He also posted a 7.64 ERA in first innings, lower only than his mark in sixth innings, in which he had a 8.38 ERA.
Entering Game 4, Holliday had only one RBI in 34 career regular-season at-bats against Lincecum. On Thursday, the Cards' left fielder drove in two runs off the Giants' two-time Cy Young Award winner.
Holliday's two RBIs gave him seven for this postseason, the most he has driven in since he knocked in 10 runs in the 2007 playoffs with the Rockies. His three multi-RBI games this postseason equals his previous high, also set in the 2007 playoffs with Colorado.
With his RBI single in the seventh, Pete Kozma drove in his seventh run of the postseason. Among Cardinals rookies, that total trails only Willie McGee, who had 10 RBIs in the 1982 postseason.
Jon Jay, Holliday and Molina each drove in two runs on two hits, the sixth time in franchise history the Cards have had three players accomplish that in a postseason game.
Hunter Pence's second-inning solo home run marked his first RBI and first extra-base hit of the postseason. It was also Pence's first career postseason homer.
Marco Scutaro has two hits in each of the first four games of the NLCS. He joins Barry Larkin, Fred McGriff and Pete Rose as the only players to have four straight two-hit games in the NLCS.
Matt Carpenter, in the lineup because of an injury to Carlos Beltran, notched his second extra-base hit in as many days with a double in the fifth. The rookie first baseman/outfielder hit a key two-run home run in Game 3.
Before Thursday, Beltran had never not started a postseason game in which his team had appeared.
The two sixth-inning runs charged to George Kontos were the first runs surrendered by San Francisco's bullpen in the NLCS. The Giants' relief corps threw 8 2/3 scoreless innings over the first three games. The two runs were also the first time the rookie Kontos was charged with runs in the postseason, having not allowed an earned run in six appearances (4 1/3 innings).
Mike Fiammetta, Jake Kaplan and Jay Lee are associate reporters for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.