SAN FRANCISCO -- Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford showed in the sixth inning of Saturday night's Game 4 of the World Series that they can put together a 3-6-3 double play with the best of them. Good thing, too, because that well-timed bit of defensive prowess helped take the sting out of a similar scenario earlier that didn't pan out as well.
What the Giants' pair of Brandons pulled off with speed on the bases and at the plate in the sixth was a thing of beauty -- a perfect snag by Belt at first, a throw zipped right in stride to Crawford to get Royals speedster Jarrod Dyson on a forceout, and a rocket returned to first by the Giants' shortstop to get Nori Aoki.
It was a key play in a tie game, and the Giants responded with runs their next two times up, pulling away for an 11-4 victory at AT&T Park that knotted up the World Series at 2-2 as it heads to a Game 5 on Sunday, with an air time of 7 p.m. ET on FOX and a first pitch of 8:07 p.m.
As for the 3-6-3 twin killing in the sixth, the shortstop said it was mostly about the first baseman.
"He did most of that one," Crawford said of Belt. "He gave me a good feed, and I turned it like I always do. They were two fast runners, so we were both trying to get rid of it as quickly as possible."
Said Giants second baseman Joe Panik, who had a great view of the play in front of him: "That was huge momentum. They had speed on the bases and for [Belt] to turn that like that, that was big for us."
After what had happened in the third inning, that one in the sixth was even more important. With one out in the third, Alex Gordon hit a grounder to Belt and a 3-6-3 double play that would have ended the inning appeared to be in order. But Belt couldn't quite get the play started, and the Giants had to settle for a forceout -- and then it got a little crazy after that, as Kansas City wound up stringing together four runs to knock starter Ryan Vogelsong out of the game and take a 4-1 lead.
Had Belt been able to get that first 3-6-3 double play started successfully, Vogelsong and the Giants would have been out of the inning.
"I just threw it high," Belt said, saying the light rain during the early part of the game wasn't a factor. "It wasn't slick. It's just a big glove sometimes, and it's hard to get it out. I kind of double-pumped right there. We're very fortunate we have an athletic shortstop over there who can catch those balls."
Two batters later, Eric Hosmer's grounder to the right side proved to be difficult to handle, too. Vogelsong went hard after the ball but couldn't get it, and once Belt retrieved it, the play had gone askew.
"He gave me a good feed, but I was going the wrong direction," Vogelsong said.
"It was just a tough play altogether," Belt said. "[Hosmer] put it in a good spot. There's not much you can do right there. At first, I really didn't even know if we had a play at first. I looked at second and saw we didn't have anything there. It was weird angles."
Those plays added up to a frustrating final inning for Vogelsong, and it was looking like a couple of stumbles on the right side of the infield were going to be detrimental for the Giants. But the offense rallied, tying the game in the bottom of the fifth.
Then they got another opportunity for a 3-6-3 double play, and the Giants' sure-handed Brandons didn't let this one slip away. That defensive gem in the top of the sixth helped set up a three-run bottom half, and the Giants pulled away from there.
Belt said the defensive gem was really about getting the opportunity -- and he could thank reliever Yusmeiro Petit for delivering the pitch to get it all started.
"That was a huge spot in the game, and I had the easy part right there," Belt said. "Petit's the one who got the groundout. We were tied at that point and they got the leadoff guy on, so just to have him get a ground ball there in a spot where we really needed, that was huge for us. That really carried over for the rest of the game."
John Schlegel is a national reporter for MLB.com. You can follow him on Twitter @JohnSchlegelMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.