The game within the game: The Giants bullpen, starting with Jean Machi's appearance in the top of the third, locked down the Royals the rest of the way, scattering five hits and never allowing more than one base runner in any inning.
Yusmeiro Petit held down the key frames -- the fourth, fifth and sixth -- and got the win.
And on the other side of the ledger, the Giants finally got to the Royals bullpen in a big way. Royals' manager Ned Yost removed Jason Vargas in the bottom of the fifth after he gave up Panik's leadoff double. But relievers Jason Frasor and Danny Duffy couldn't keep the Giants off the board, with Frasor yielding an RBI single to Pence and Duffy giving up a single to Sandoval and a walk to Brandon Belt to set up Perez' short sacrifice fly. The Royals' rookie reliever Brandon Finnegan gave up three runs in the sixth and two more in the seventh. Finnegan was replaced by Tim Collins, who gave up two more runs.
Original post: The San Francisco Giants did not actually have their backs against the wall in Game Four of the 2014 World Series Saturday night, but it felt that way for the home team's fans.
And their team played that way.
The first three games against the Royals had convinced the Giants faithful that the American League champions are indeed a very good baseball team.
Built and coached a bit like a National League team, the Royals feature a strong starting rotation, good defense, great relief pitching, and just enough offense. Plus they have a very strong running game.
They beat teams by getting the lead and keeping it until the sixth inning, when their hard-throwing relief corps shuts down any thoughts of a comeback.
If that sound like another successful team, stay tuned.
In 2010 and 2012, the World Series champion Giants had a relatively easy time of it. They dispatched the Texas Rangers in five games and the Detroit Tigers in a four-game sweep.
In both years, the Giants clinched the series on the road -- something they are going to have to be able to do again this year, if they are going to again be the champions.
Thus the feeling of having one's back against the wall.
So for the home team, a win was in order. The Giants set up with Ryan Vogelsong to start against the Royals' Jason Vargas. There had been some talk that Giants ace Madison Bumgarner would go on short rest, but manager Bruce Bochy stuck with Vogelsong.
He came out dealing in the first inning, retiring the side, allowing one hit with two strikeouts.
In the bottom of the first, leadoff hitter Gregor Blanco walked. On a wild pitch, Blanco took second. With Buster Posey at bat, in a shocking play, Blanco stole third.
Vargas walked Posey. First and third with one out. Up came Hunter Pence. Ground ball out; Blanco scores. A run without a hit.
Giants up 1-0.