St. Louis error in 10th inning gives Giants lead in NLCS
By Dave Del Grande Sports Xchange SAN FRANCISCO -- Brandon Crawford raced home from second base on a throwing error by reliever Randy Choate in the 10th inning Tuesday, allowing the San Francisco Giants to rebound after blowing a four-run lead an...
By Dave Del Grande
SAN FRANCISCO - Brandon Crawford raced home from second base on a throwing error by reliever Randy Choate in the 10th inning Tuesday, allowing the San Francisco Giants to rebound after blowing a four-run lead and beat the St. Louis Cardinals 5-4 in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series.
The victory on a windy afternoon at AT&T Park gave the Giants a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.
Game 4 is scheduled for Wednesday night in San Francisco.
Crawford ignited the winning uprising by drawing a walk on a full-count pitch by Choate, the Cardinals’ fifth pitcher.
After fouling off two pitches while trying to sacrifice Crawford to second, reserve left fielder Juan Perez lined a single to left, advancing his teammate into scoring position.
Center fielder Gregor Blanco then fouled off one bunt attempt before getting the next one down to Choate’s right. The left-hander fielded the ball, then spun and threw wildly past second baseman Kolten Wong, who was covering first base, allowing Crawford to score from second without a throw.
Down 4-0 after one inning, the Cardinals chipped back with two runs in the fourth and one in the sixth before right fielder Randal Grichuk got them even with a solo home run off the left-field foul pole with one out in the seventh.
The homer was the second of the postseason for Grichuk and the 12th by the Cardinals in seven playoff games. Eight of the 12 homers have come in the seventh inning of later.
The game-tying pitch to Grichuk was the last thrown by Giants starter Tim Hudson.
Wong’s two-run triple in the fourth inning and shortstop Johnny Peralta’s RBI single in the sixth, both with two outs, produced the earlier St. Louis runs.
Grichuk also played a role in San Francisco’s four-run first, the biggest opening-inning uprising in Giants postseason history since 1912.
The Giants went up 1-0 with two outs when right fielder Hunter Pence followed singles by catcher Buster Posey and third baseman Pablo Sandoval with a double to right field off Cardinals starter John Lackey.
After first baseman Brandon Belt was intentionally walked, left fielder Travis Ishikawa belted a towering shot to right-center field that Grichuk chased in the wind. The ball bounced low off the wall - easily catchable had Grichuk not given up on it - and cleared the bases, giving the Giants a 4-0 advantage.
Neither starting pitcher got a decision.
Lackey settled down after the four-hit, four-run first inning, shutting out the Giants on one hit from the second through sixth innings. He finished with one walk and three strikeouts.
Hudson gave up four runs on seven hits. He struck out five and did not walk a batter.
Center fielder Jon Jay had three singles and Wong, who also doubled, had two hits for the Cardinals, who outhit the Giants 9-6.
Hudson had the Giants’ only hit after the first inning, a single in the fourth, before Perez’s single in the 10th.
NOTES: Game 4 on Wednesday matches pitchers who started clinching games in their respective National League Division Series - Cardinals RHP Shelby Miller and Giants RHP Ryan Vogelsong. ... Vogelsong has allowed one or fewer runs in each of his five career postseason starts, a major league first. ... Before missing Tuesday’s start because of a strained left oblique, Cardinals C Yadier Molina had started 83 consecutive playoff games, a major league record for a catcher. ... Molina’s replacement in the starting lineup, C A.J. Pierzynski, played one season for the Giants in 2004 after having been acquired from the Minnesota Twins for the hefty price of pitchers LHP Francisco Liriano, RHP Joe Nathan and RHP Boof Bonser. ... Giants manager Bruce Bochy disclosed before the game that LF-1B Michael Morse could make a start in left field before the series is over. Before Morse’ pinch-single in Game 2, he had played just once since Sept. 1 because of a strained left oblique.