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NLCS game four: Cardinals 8, Giants 3

Whatever Adam Wainwright was missing when he made his National League Division Series game five start against the Nationals has been found.

The Cardinals co-ace threw seven innings with one run allowed on four hits. He struck out five and walked none to lead St. Louis to a commanding 3-1 lead in the National League Championship Series.

Other things found in the 8-3 victory were:

- Matt Holliday's bat. The Cardinals left fielder who couldn't seem to get the ball in the air earlier in the playoffs had a pair of RBI hits to give the Cardinals an early lead.

- Yadi Molina's swing. He collected two hits, drove in two runs and scored one to break game four open.

- Allen Craig's luck. Craig smashed a ball to third base and it was snagged with a great diving grab. But Pablo Sandoval couldn't leap to his feet and make a good throw which allowed Craig his first hit of the NLCS.

The Cardinals will face lefty Barry Zito Friday with 18-game winner Lance Lynn on the mound to try to close out the series and win a berth in their 19th World Series.

Cardinals Star of the Game: Wainwright

Cardinals Play of the Game: In the sixth inning with the Cardinals up 4-1, two on an Sandoval at the plate, Wainwright induced an inning-ending grounder to second base that killed the Giants' best threat of the game.

Lowlight: Carlos Beltran was unable to start because of his strained knee. But the Cardinals made do without him. Matt Carpenter was 1-for-3 with two walks in his place. Beltran supposedly was available for pinch hitting duty. But he wasn't needed.