Technically, Tim Lincecum got the win on Wednesday.

But as far as his teammates are concerned, he ought to get credit for a save.

Lincecum's 4?1/3 innings of sparkling relief helped preserve an 8-3 victory in Game 4 and also gave the Giants' top late-inning options -- Sergio Romo, Javy Lopez and Jeremy Affeldt -- a much-needed day off.

"Now, we have our No. 1 guy (Matt Cain) on the mound and we've got everybody rested," reliever George Kontos said. "We're looking pretty good."

Banished to the bullpen because of his crummy regular season, Lincecum has made the best of what could have been an awkward situation in the playoffs. Over two relief outings in this National League Division Series against the Cincinnati Reds, he has allowed one run in 6?1/3 innings

Lincecum has eight strikeouts -- and zero walks.

He pitched so well, in fact, that Bruce Bochy said he would consider giving the two-time Cy Young winner another crack at the rotation should the Giants advance.

"I think you have to (think about it)," the Giants manager said. "He stepped up and did a terrific job. ... When you're on a stage like this, you're hoping somebody steps up. And Timmy did that tonight."

Lincecum, a four-time All-Star, could have sulked about being relegated to the bullpen. Instead, Wednesday's winning pitcher said he has embraced the idea of being a middle reliever.