SAN FRANCISCO -- One more victory, and the Giants will give the even-number theorists plenty of satisfaction. One more victory, and the Giants will approach their ultimate goal by reaching the World Series.
But San Francisco knows that securing the final triumph it needs to win the best-of-seven National League Championship Series against the St. Louis Cardinals could be an arduous task. The Giants will again face Adam Wainwright, the Game 1 loser who yielded three runs (two earned) in 4 2/3 innings. Rarely does Wainwright pitch two duds in a row.
Here's how the Giants can win tonight's Game 5 (5 PT, FOX Sports 1):
1. Invite inevitability
Certainly, the Cardinals will be determined to stave off elimination. But if San Francisco can score first or play deflatingly solid defense, St. Louis might lose just a little bit of its resolve. Then the Giants, who seem to sense when teams let down their guard, can capitalize.
2. Generate offense
We're talking real offense, not the improvising that has sustained San Francisco all series. If the Giants can generate some early runs with honest-to-goodness hitting -- which will be a challenge against Wainwright -- they could settle matters early.
3. Climb on Bum's back
Left-hander Madison Bumgarner has excelled in this postseason, yielding two earned runs in 23 2/3 innings. There's no reason to believe that he'll endure any sort of lapse. A typical performance from Bumgarner, which would be an outstanding effort from anyone else, would bolster the Giants' chances.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, and follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.