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SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The San Francisco Giants scored three runs in the sixth inning to move to the brink of a return to the World Series with a come-from-behind 6-4 victory over the St Louis Cardinals on Wednesday.
The victory gives the Giants a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven National League Championship Series and one more win will see them advance to a third MLB title showdown in five years.
One night after the Giants edged Game Three on a Cardinals throwing error, St Louis first baseman Matt Adams was involved in two sloppy fielding incidents that helped San Francisco surge into a winning lead in the sixth inning.
Trailing 4-3 in the bottom of the frame and with runners on second and third, Giants center fielder Gregor Blanco punched a routine shot to Adams but he was slow with his throw to home plate, allowing Juan Perez to tie the scores at 4-4. Joe Panik then hit a grounder right at Adams, who stepped on first base for the out before firing wildly wide of second in trying for a double play, giving Brandon Crawford plenty of time to score the go-ahead run from third base.
Blanco then added an insurance run from second on catcher Buster Posey's single to complete the scoring.
"Anytime you can put pressure on the defense you've got the opportunity for good things to happen," Posey told reporters.
"We were able to come up with two big two-out RBIs to get back in the game."
Game Five is in San Francisco on Thursday and Posey highlighted the importance of closing out the series as soon as possible, aware from personal experience that teams can come back in a best-of-seven series.
"It is very important," said Posey, who drove in three runs. "We were down 3-1 in St Louis two years ago, that's fresh in our minds, we know we are going to have a tough one tomorrow."
After scoring a run apiece in the first inning, the Cardinals had forged 4-1 ahead by the middle of the third before the Giants fought back.
Kolten Wong doubled in the top of the second and was brought home by an A.J. Pierzynski single for a 2-1 advantage before Matt Holliday reached home on a ground ball and Wong hit a solo homer in the third to stretch the advantage to three runs. The Giants responded immediately in the bottom of the inning with Joaquin Arias driven in by a Posey single before the catcher reached home courtesy of a Hunter Pence single to reduce the deficit to a single run.
The winner of the series will meet the Kansas City Royals, who booked their place in the World Series earlier on Wednesday after completing a four-game sweep of the Baltimore Orioles in the American League Championship Series.
Writing by Ben Everill in Los Angeles; Editing by John O'Brien