San Francisco, CA – It was like “deja vu” all over again. The Giants faced another elimination game and their ace took the mound.
But this time Madison Bumgarner didn’t pitch a shutout nor did he go the distance. Bumgarner gave up a three-run homer to Jake Arrieta, Conor Gillaspie made a clutch play and Joe Panik hit the walk-off double to keep San Francisco alive in the series.
The Giants 6-5 win over the Chicago Cubs gives them a chance to tie the series tomorrow at AT&T Park. San Francisco scored three runs in the eighth to avoid being eliminated. The Giants had not scored off Chicago’s bullpen all year and they ended that streak tonight. Reliever Aroldis Chapman got one out allowed three runs and threw 21 pitches.
“What they did tonight, that’s one of the best, most exciting games I’ve ever been involved in,” said manager Bruce Bochy. “They found a way. They had to score off one of the best close serves in the game. And Conor, a huge hit.”
Bottom of the thirteenth inning, Brandon Crawford led off with a double. Panik followed with a sharp line drive to right filed and the celebration began. San Francisco has now won each of their last ten elimination games, the longest streak by a team in postseason history. After tying the game 5-5 in the ninth, the Giants had enough fight life for four more frames.
“I think that ball hung up little longer than I wanted to,” Panik said. “I knew I hit it well and I knew it was going to at least get off the wall, but it felt like forever for that thing to get off the wall.
If we’re breathing, we’re still fighting. In the eighth inning, all it took is [Brandon] Belt to get on base and then everything started to go for us.”
Bumgarner’s shaky start wasn’t that bad after San Francisco’s offense backed him for the win. He got out of the first unscathed after allowing a double to Kris Bryant. But by the second Bumgarner unraveled allowing three runs that quieted the sellout crowd. Addison Russell was hit by pitch and Javier Baez followed with a single to third baseman Conor Gillaspie. While Gillaspie stopped the ball from traveling beyond him, he failed to get the out at first in time.
Arrieta took a high pitch into the left field bleachers making it a 3-0 game. No pitcher has homered off off Bumgarner until tonight. The three-run homer by Arrieta snapped Bumgarner’s scoreless inning streak at 24 consecutive frames. The Cubs pitchers have six of the teams 9 RBIs this series. The 6 RBIs tie the record for most RBIs by a team’s pitchers in a postseason.
“I obviously thought I could’ve done better today, if it wasn’t for that one pitch,” said Bumgarner. “The three runs scored there, you never know what’s going to happen but it played out differently. I had a lot of foul balls and anytime you have a long inning like that it’s tough on the players.”
Chicago tried to rally in the third but the Giants defense ended that. Ben Zobrist doubled, Russell hit another single and Bumgarner struck out Baez while forcing Miguel Montero to fly out to end the threat. Since the second inning the Cubs did not scored in any runs until the ninth.
San Francisco rallied bottom of the third when Denard Span doubled and Buster Posey drove him in with the Giants first run. San Francisco had six hits off Arrieta through six innings. Bumgarner on the other hand scattered seven hits over five frames. He walked one, struck out four, hit a batter and gave up a home run.
Span kept the offense alive, he tripled in the fifth and Brandon Belt’s sacrifice fly drove him in to trim the lead 3-2. The Giants had another opportunity in the sixth but a bad call by the umpires thwarted that. Gillaspie singled, Baez threw to first baseman Anthony Rizzo who caught the ball off the bag but first base umpire John Hirschbeck ruled him out. After further review, the call stood.
“We needed to put some runs up,” Crawford said. “Unfortunately when we got him [Arrieta] out of the game, we kinda got something rolling there in the eighth inning. We got some good at-bats and found some holes.”
Nothing but bad calls for San Francisco but they didn’t stop believing. Belt led off the eighth with a single. Posey was issued a free pass. And Gillaspie became the “clutch” player of the game when he cleared the bases with a two-run triple making it a 4-3 game. Crawford followed with a RBI single scoring in Gillaspie extending the Giants lead 5-3.
Closer Sergio Romo walked Dexter Flower in the ninth to lead off the frame. Bryant followed with a two-run homer to left field to tie the game 5-5. San Francisco went hitless in the ninth, Span grounded out, Belt walked and Posey hit into a double play. Albert Almora Jr. made a diving catch then threw to first after Belt doubled off.
On to extra innings, were both teams went scoreless for three frames. It then became a defensive game until the thirteenth, Crawford got on base with a double and Panik followed with a walk-double to seals their victory and force a Game 4 tomorrow at 5:40pm. Tonight marked the Giants seventh postseason walk-off win.
“We got it done, that’s all that matters,” said Belt . “We wanted to keep our season alive.”