SAN FRANCISCO -- With the Cardinals able to limit the production from the heart of the Giants' batting order so far in the National League Championship Series, the bottom of the lineup has been coming through to spur on the offense.
Brandon Crawford's two-run single in Friday's Game 5 was a pivotal moment in the win, while Gregor Blanco contributed two walks and a run. In the series, Crawford has four RBIs while Blanco has four runs scored. Back in the four-run fourth inning in a 6-4 Game 1 loss, the Giants got RBI hits from Brandon Belt, Blanco and Crawford.
"Some of that is the nature of playoff baseball," general manager Brian Sabean said. "So much time is spent with the advance scouts on how to attack somebody's middle, and maybe some of your unsung heroes are ones that aren't commonly known to the public and even the other ballclub. They have a chance to come through."
Getting production from the bottom part of their lineup has been a winning formula for the Giants in the series, getting key contributions from Crawford and Blanco in their two wins so far. In addition to Game 5, Crawford drove in and scored a run in the four-run fourth inning during a 7-1 win in Game 2, with the first of Blanco's two runs scored being the go-ahead run.
"Well, whenever you have an opportunity for your lineup, especially the last part of your lineup, to come through and be productive, usually good things are happening," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "Same thing happened with us -- the games that we've done big things, seems like the bottom has really produced for us."
The Giants' All-Star trio of Pablo Sandoval, Buster Posey and Hunter Pence have combined to go 11-for-58 (.190), and have driven in fewer runs (five) in the series than Belt, Blanco and Crawford (seven).
"The thing about the Giants' lineup, you can talk about the bottom, the middle, the top -- they all put tough at-bats against you," Cardinals Game 6 starter Chris Carpenter said. "And those guys at the bottom are going to continue to do that, too, and they have all series. You've got to make pitches. When you get those guys on in front of the guys in the middle they're going to do damage. So you've got to get them all and make pitches to them all because they all throw quality at‑bats on you."