ST. LOUIS -- In one of the biggest plays of the game, a lot of little things went wrong for the Giants.
Center fielder Angel Pagan's attempt at a diving catch came up just short ... shortstop Brandon Crawford's throw was just a tad off ... catcher Hector Sanchez's on-time tag lacked only the ball inside his glove.
In all, it added up to a game-changing sequence for the St. Louis Cardinals. And it hastened the end of Tim Lincecum's night.
Had the Giants done just one of those little things better, Game 4 might not have slipped out of hand.
"Definitely, definitely," Pagan said. "If we execute that play, it would have kept us in the game."
The Giants' botched relay came in the fifth inning of the Cardinals' 8-3 win. With one out, Matt Carpenter smoked a double off the right-center field wall against Lincecum.
Matt Holliday followed by ripping a sinking liner to straightaway center field. Pagan in charged in and left his feet thinking he had a chance to make the catch. He did snare the ball -- but after it struck the turf.
"I have to keep that ball in front of me because if it gets behind me, it's a different situation," Pagan said. "I would have used my teeth if I had to."
Still, the Giants looked OK. Carpenter had to freeze in case Pagan made the catch. And when the ball bounced, Cardinals third base coach Jose Oquendo made the daring decision to wave Carpenter home anyway.
Pagan, rolling out of his dive, came up firing. Crawford, from behind second, received the throw knowing he couldn't keep it for long.
"I knew I had to be quick because I knew (Carpenter) was going home," the shortstop said.
Crawford's throw was a few feet toward the third-base side of the home plate. And, by design it one-hopped Sanchez. The trouble was, it somehow skipped by the catcher.
Crawford blamed himself.
"I tried to give him the long hop," he said. "If I could do it again, I would hit him in the chest."
Carpenter slid into Sanchez thinking he was doomed. But he noticed the ball rolling in the direction of the backstop, he flopped his way over and slapped an outstretched hand on home plate.
That run made it 3-1, with Holliday scooting to second base on the throw. One batter later, Yadier Molina's single drove home Holliday to make it 4-1 -- finishing Lincecum after 42/3 innings.
"He was close to getting out of that inning,'' manager Bruce Bochy said. "(Pagan) made a great effort on that ball and a good throw.
"We had him at home plate and still 2-1. That's a big play in that game."
Sanchez was away from his locker getting treatment while reporters were in the clubhouse. He was seen walking with his right ankle wrapped.
But Lincecum, who was backing up on the play, provided the view from home plate.
"It was a great play obviously by Pagan to get that thing set up," the pitcher said. "And then (Crawford's) throw -- I wouldn't say it was a bad throw. It was just a tough play to make when you have a guy breathing down your throat as a catcher."