ST. LOUIS (AP) — Adam Wainwright looked like an ace again and some of the St. Louis Cardinals' top hitters rediscovered their strokes.
On the verge of a repeat wild-card title shot, the defending World Series champions have picked a good time to put it all together.
"It's always nice to wake up and understand that if you win, you're moving on, especially when the World Series is at your fingertips," third baseman David Freese said after the Cardinals' 8-3 victory over the San Francisco Giants in Game 4 of the NLCS Thursday night. "Tomorrow's going to be fun either way."
The Cardinals can close it out at home Friday night in Game 5. Lance Lynn faces Giants lefty Barry Zito, and a St. Louis win would set up a 2006 World Series rematch with Detroit.
But the Cardinals realize it's not time to celebrate yet.
"We just have to keep our head down," manager Mike Matheny said. "Keep playing the game. Keep doing things right. Stay aggressive, stay within yourself, do your piece, and trust that we can pull together and do what we need to do."
The Giants are in a big hole after Wainwright threw seven innings of four-hit ball and a 12-hit attack roughed up Tim Lincecum and the San Francisco bullpen Thursday night.