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FRANCISCO -- With the Cardinals limiting the Giants' big-name hitters in Sunday's National League Championship Series opener, the Giants got their offensive production from the bottom of their lineup, which strung together a four-run rally in the fourth inning of the 6-4 loss.
In their biggest offensive spurt in their three postseason games at home so far, the Giants got two-out RBI hits from Brandon Belt, Gregor Blanco and Brandon Crawford in the fourth inning off Cardinals starter Lance Lynn.
After Marco Scutaro opened the frame with a single to left, Lynn struck out Pablo Sandoval and got Buster Posey to fly out to right. A Hunter Pence single to right advanced Scutaro to third, and Belt lined a single to center to drive in his first run of the postseason. Blanco electrified the sold-out AT&T crowd by blasting a bases-clearing triple to the center-field wall, and trotted home when Crawford lined a double to right field.
Pence's single was the lone hit Sunday night by Sandoval, Posey or Pence in 10 at-bats. And with the entire offense stymied for eight innings, the fourth-inning production provided the sole offensive bright spot as they look to battle a Cardinals pitching staff that limited a potent Nationals lineup to 16 runs in five NLDS games.
"I think it's big for us mainly because we know what those other guys are going to do," Belt said. "We know what Buster's going to do, we know what Hunter's going to do, and Marco and Angel [Pagan] -- they're going to go out there and give their best. But if we have us behind them go out and produce a little bit, that makes our offense that much better."
Though Blanco and Crawford find themselves in starting roles primarily because of their adept defensive play, both have shown their ability to contribute in their respective seventh and eight spots in the lineup.
Blanco's five postseason hits so far only trail Sandoval's seven, and his four RBIs are tied with Pagan for second-most on the team. While Crawford only went 2-for-11 against the Reds, his RBI triple in Game 5 of the NLDS sparked the Giants' crucial six-run rally. Their two hits in the fourth were the Giants' only extra-base hits on the night.
"What we did in that inning was really important for [us] because everybody thinks that those are the only guys who can do things," Blanco said. "We're a team, and the whole season we showed them. One day it can be Buster, and one day it can be me, and one day it can be Crawford or Angel or somebody else. We've been playing like that the whole season, and it was great that we did that tonight."
The four-run fourth inning has been the only time so far that the Giants have scored more than one run in an inning in their three postseason games at home so far, having only scored two runs in their two games at AT&T Park in the NLDS.
"That's something that we want to do a lot more of," Belt said of the fourth-inning rally. "It's something that these fans deserve, and it's something that we know that we can do every time we go out there. The main goal tomorrow is to be consistent. If we are consistent, we'll be good."