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SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The San Francisco Giants beat the visiting St. Louis Cardinals 5-4 on a wild throw in the 10th inning on Tuesday to gain the upper hand with a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven National League Championship Series.
Cardinals reliever Randy Choate threw wildly to first on Gregor Blanco's attempted sacrifice bunt to allow Brandon Crawford to score from second base for the winning run.
"I'm a little delirious I guess you could say," said Giants manager Bruce Bochy. "These are hard-fought games.
"We don't do anything easy. We score four in the first and don't do anything after that. They chip away, they battled hard to get back in it and tied the game.
"It's who these two clubs are. It's something you're used to, it's kind of our way. We play a lot of tight games."
The wild card Giants erupted for four runs in the first inning off St. Louis starter John Lackey, keyed by a wind-blown, three-run double by Travis Ishikawa, but were silenced after that until the climactic 10th.
The Cardinals clawed their way back with two runs in the fourth on a triple by Kolten Wong, a single tally in the sixth and seventh-inning home run by Randal Grichuk off starter Tim Hudson that hit the left field foul pole.
St. Louis pitchers set down 16 San Francisco batters in succession before the sleeping Giants stirred in the 10th.
Choate walked lead-off man Crawford and Juan Perez failed in his first two tries at a sacrifice bunt. Swinging away with two strikes, Perez singled to left, bringing Blanco to the plate.
Blanco laid down a lovely bunt, forcing Choate to field it. The lefty reliever gloved the slow bouncer but turned and threw wide of first base to start the celebrations at AT&T Park.
"They get the bunt down and we just didn't make the play," said Cardinals manager Mike Matheny.
Sergio Romo, the fifth Giants pitcher, picked up the win and Choate took the loss.
"Luck's created by you executing sometimes," the San Francisco skipper said. "You don't get this far by being lucky. You have to be good."
The Cards were playing without All Star catcher Yadier Molina, who was not able to swing the bat after straining his oblique muscle in Game Two.
Game Four is scheduled for Wednesday in San Francisco.
Writing by Larry Fine in New York; Editing by Frank Pingue/Peter Rutherford