San Francisco, CA -- Another story book ending for a team that will return to the World Series for the third time in five years. Their unconventional ways of winning is something that's not available on DVD or by script. It's good old fashion baseball, simply unpredictable. The Giants have continued their quest in the even years with a different cast of characters each time.
Every year has been completely different, this year injuries harbored the teams chances of maintaining a full roster so they went to the minors to fill some crucial positions and to no avail, San Francisco proved their naysayers wrong by beating the Cardinals 6-3. Once again they've been crowned the National League Champions.
"They have been battle-tested and they know how to handle themselves on this type of stage," said Giants manager Bruce Bochy. "And then add the kids we brought up, then [Travis] Ishikawa, I mean what a great story. He gets released and then we sign him, he goes to Fresno, comes up, he's our everyday left fielder and ends up getting the home run to get us to the World Series."
"It's gratifying," Ishikawa said. "If there's an organization I'd want to do it for, it would be this one. You know obviously, drafting me and sticking with me for so many years and giving me the opportunity to be apart of the 2010 World Series, and obviously having left for a couple of years."
Michael Morse tied the game 3-3 in the eighth with a solo home run off Pat Neshek. Morse belted the fifth postseason, pinch-hit home run in the history of the franchise and the first since J.T. Snow went deep as a pinch-hitter on October 5, 2000 in game 2 of the National League Division Series against the New York Mets. Heading into the ninth San Francisco rallied a comeback when Pablo Sandoval leadoff the inning with a single.
"I went up there and tried not to do too much," said Morse. "And you now, just tried to focus and tried not to do too much and just tried to touch the ball. I wasn't trying to hit a home run, that's for sure. I was trying to get a base hit to get us going."
Pinch-runner Joaquin Arias replaced Sandoval. Closer Michael Wacha walked Brandon Belt putting two on with one out. Ishikawa went yard with a three-run homer to break the tie. The win gave San Francisco the 4-1 victory in the NLCS and a trip to face the Kansas City Royals in the best of seven series. St. Louis put up a good fight but it wasn't enough as they feel victim to this team twice, back in 2012 and tonight.
"It doesn't get any better," Bochy said. "What a group. No one has any will stronger than us."
The Giants provided great defense to back Madison Bumgarner's rocky start in the first. He surrendered back-to-back singles to both Jon Jay and Matt Holiday. Jhonny Peralta hit a line drive to third baseman Pablo Sandoval who rallied a double play throwing to shortstop Brandon Crawford who picked off Jay at second to end the inning stranding two.
"I felt like I made some decent pitches," said Bumgarner. "They got some good swings on them and hit them hard. They could've been some better pitches but I certainly had to try to lock it in a little better after that."
Bumgarner found himself in another jam in the third when he walked both Tony Cruz and Matt Carpenter. Jay knocked a bloop double to left field driving in Cruz making it a 1-0 game. But Joe Panik took Adam Wainwright deep to right field for a two-run shot giving San Francisco a 2-1 lead bottom of the inning.
Panik hit his first career home run and was the first since Buster Posey did it during game 4 of the World Series in 2010. Unfortunately for the NLCS MVP, Bumgarner didn't recover anytime soon. He yielded two solo home runs to both Adams and Cruz putting the Cardinals back on top 3-2. Bumgarner came into the series having allowed just four home runs in 10 postseason games and nine starts.
Sandoval leadoff the fourth with a double, Wainwright walked Hunter Pence and Brandon Belt hit a line drive to second baseman Kolten Wong who tagged Sandoval off second resulting in a double play. Sandoval tied Lance Berman for the 6th longest streak in MLB history for reaching base safely in 23 straight postseason games.
"This means a lot," Sandoval said. "This crowd, they've meant a lot. We tried to do everything we could all the way back to the offseason and Spring Training."
St. Louis battled until the end. They had an opportunity to take the game away but the brilliant mind of Bochy ended that. Closer Santiago Casilla walked Adams, gave up a single to Randal Grichuk and a fielder's choice advanced pinch-runner Daniel Descalso to third. Grichuk stole second and Casilla walked Cruz to load the bases. Jeremy Affeldt came in to replace Casilla and forced pinch-hitter Oscar Taveras to line out to end the inning, stranding three.