A cheerful Hunter Pence had one last remark for reporters as he left the Busch Stadium interview room following a pregame chat.

"Have fun," Pence said. "Enjoy the game."

Maybe Pence knew the Giants had a memorable performance ready to deliver.

The Giants definitely enjoyed themselves Friday night, relying on a four-run fourth inning and Barry Zito's masterly 7 2/3-inning effort to stun the St. Louis Cardinals, 5-0, in Game 5 of the National League Championship Series. Brandon Crawford's two-run single and Zito's run-scoring bunt single highlighted San Francisco's uprising in the fourth.

With the baseball world assuming that the Cardinals would eliminate San Francisco and advance to the World Series in an attempt to defend their title, the Giants instead launched their bid to join the short list of teams to overcome a 3-1 deficit in a best-of-seven LCS. Of the 33 previous teams to build a 3-1 advantage in an LCS, 27 proceeded to the Fall Classic.

By trimming St. Louis' series edge to 3-2, the Giants accomplished a significant objective: bringing the NLCS back to San Francisco. Following Saturday's scheduled off-day, the teams will reconvene for Game 6 at AT&T Park on Sunday afternoon.

If Zito happens to stick his head out of the dugout that day, he's due a standing ovation.

It could be suggested that this game alone justified the left-hander's seven-year, $126 million contract -- which made him an object of scorn among the media and many Giants fans as he struggled on the mound for most of his San Francisco tenure.