San Francisco, CA – After going eight innings without a run scored the Giants prevailed in the tenth inning. Gregor Blanco bunted which forced a wild throw to first by reliever Randy Choate that drove in Brandon Crawford for the win. If there was ever a team that got lucky, it’s San Francisco who triumphed over the Cardinals 5-4 leading the National League Championship Series 2-1.
The Giants headed into the ninth tied 4-4, Crawford leadoff the tenth with a free pass. This was San Francisco’s first hit since pitcher Tim Hudson’s hit in the fourth. Juan Perez hit a single to left field despite being unsuccessful in two bunt attempts earlier.
“Perez, he couldn’t get a bunt down and gets a base hit,” said Giants manager Bruce Bochy. “Now you’re playing with house money, I guess.”
“Coming off the bench, Bochy had the confidence in me to get that bunt down,” Perez said. “If you fail at getting the bunt down, you at least better hit the ball somewhere. And I concentrated on getting a line drive somewhere, he gave me a couple of good pitches and I was able to get the base hit.”
Blanco’s bunt was near perfect as Choate rushed grabbing the ball in front of the mound and threw past first base allowing Crawford to score. A simple error secured the Giants win in a bizarre walk-off victory. After scoring four runs in the first, Hudson was the only batter to get a hit after the remaining offense went cold.
“Somebody asked me earlier if there was a way we can score a run other than a non-conventional way, and I said ‘If there is, we’re going to find a way,’” Travis Ishikawa said.
The Giants wasted no time getting on board first. Ishikawa hit a three-run double clearing the bases giving San Francisco a 4-0 lead in the first. After pitcher John Lackey forced both Blanco and Joe Panik to fly out, Pablo Sandoval hit a single and Hunter Pence followed with a RBI double making it a 1-0 game.
“I’m looking for a first pitch that I feel like I can put a good swing on it,” said Ishikawa. “I was able to put a really good swing on it and fortunate enough that it was able to find grass.”
St. Louis rallied in the fourth with a leadoff single from Jon Jay. Matt Holiday followed with a single putting two on and no outs. Kolten Wong who was the Giants killer today, hit a two-run triple trimming the lead in half 4-2. Wong went 2-for-two against Hudson who provided his own defense in the fifth.
He rallied a double play to end the frame. Hudson struck out Randal Grichuk and hit pitcher John Lackey putting him on at first. Then Matt Carpenter grounded directly to Hudson who threw to second for the out and shortstop Brandon Crawford threw to first for the out.
“That’s our personality as a team,” Hudson said. “We have guys that scratch and claw and go out there and do whatever it takes to try to get some runs across keeping the game close at times, finding ways to win in the end.”
“It was easy,” said Choate. “It was right there and I blew it. The ball just sailed on me. I threw it to where I thought Wong was going to be right over the base, and it just kind of took off to the left of me and sailed down the line.”
The Cardinals extended their lead 4-3 with an RBI single from Johnny Peralta who drilled a single down the left field line right past Sandoval who dove for the ball. Wong flew out to center field to end the threat in the seventh. But Grichuk tied the game when he took Hudson deep to left field on a solo home run. That chased Hudson off the mound bringing in the bullpen.
“Man, these are heard fought games, we don’t do anything easy,” Bochy said. “We score four runs in the first and don’t do anything after that and chip away. I mean they battle hard to get back in it, tied game. That’s who these two teams are, we’ve had two great ballgames, exciting games.”