SAN FRANCISCO - The first three games of the 110th World Series in many ways played out as expected.
Giants ace Madison Bumgarner did what he always does at this time of year in Game 1. The Royals' lock-the-door-and-throw-away-the-key bullpen did what it has done all season in Games 2 and 3.
And then all heck broke loose in Saturday night's wild Game 4, an 11-4 Giants victory in front of 43,066 delirious fans at AT&T Park in which momentum, that desired but often elusive dance partner in a long series, swung like a pendulum on PEDs.
And now the Giants, whose prospects looked bleak when they fell behind 4-1 after three innings, are even at two games apiece with Bumgarner -- 3-1 with a 1.40 ERA in five starts this postseason -- ready to go on regular rest Sunday night in Game 5.
"We just never gave up. That's just the way this team is," said Giants rookie Joe Panik, a St. John's product who doubled home two runs and scored on Hunter Pence's double to cap a four-run seventh. "We're going to battle and scratch and claw."
After falling behind 4-1, the Giants pulled even in the fifth, added three runs in the sixth and blew it open in the seventh.
"I've stopped getting surprised by things in the postseason," Brandon Crawford said of his team scoring 10 unanswered runs. "We believe we can put up 10 runs against anybody."
Royals rookie lefty Brandon Finnegan started the sixth, allowed three runs in that inning and was charged with two in the seventh.
Pablo Sandoval, battling an illness, had the key hit in the sixth, a two-out, two-run single that snapped a 4-4 tie. Brandon Belt's single then made it 7-4.
The Giants had 11 players combine for 16 hits, three by Pence, who had three RBIs, and two each by Gregor Blanco, Panik and Sandoval. The latter two added two RBIs each.
"I've never felt so good about getting my tail whooped in my life because I'm sitting here thinking it's Game 4, it's tied 2-2, this is a phenomenal series," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "It's fun and we've got another great game [Sunday night] we get to play."
Royals starter Jason Vargas allowed three runs and six hits in four innings. Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong allowed four runs and seven hits in 22/3 innings.
Vogelsong could not get out of a strange, death-by-a-thousand-cuts third inning in which the Royals managed perhaps one hard-hit ball but seemed to seize control of the game, scoring three times to take a 4-1 lead.
The Giants got one of the runs back in the bottom half on Buster Posey's two-out single.
They knocked out Vargas in the fifth when Panik, 2-for-15 to that point in the series, led off with a double. Pence's RBI single off Jason Frasor made it 4-3 and Sandoval's single off Danny Duffy put runners at the corners. Belt walked to load the bases and Juan Perez sent a sinking liner to center, where Jarrod Dyson made a spectacular diving catch to rob him of a hit. But the sacrifice fly tied it at 4-4.
An unsung hero was Giants reliever Yusmeiro Petit, who started the fourth and pitched three scoreless innings to pick up the win. The Giants' bullpen tossed 61/3 scoreless innings and has a 1.08 ERA in the last seven games.
And speaking of seven games, that's about what Yost and Giants manager Bruce Bochy expect of this series.
"Oh, man, somewhere inside me, secretly I had hoped that it would go seven games for the excitement and thrill of it," Yost said. "Sure looks that way."
Said Bochy: "The way these teams go at it, it wouldn't surprise me."