For the third time in five years, the San Francisco Giants will represent the National League in the World Series. Bruce Bochy’s club won a dramatic Game 5 against the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday night to wrap up the NLCS.
Down by one in the bottom of the eighth and facing the real possibility of going back to St. Louis for Game 6 (and potentially a Game 7), Michael Morse came off the bench and hit a Pat Neshek pitch over the left field fence to tie the game at three. Travis Ishikawa came through with the game-winning walk-off three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth off of Michael Wacha to send the Giants to the World Series in dramatic fashion.
The game wasn’t without some controversy.
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny pulled Adam Wainwright after just 97 pitches through seven innings. Wainwright had been dealing with some discomfert in his throwing elbow, but he’s the staff ace and had been dominating the Giants. He retired the final 10 batters he faced.
St. Louis took a 1-0 lead when Jon Jay blasted an RBI double in the third inning off Giants starter Madison Bumgarner. San Francisco took the lead in the bottom of the inning on a two-run homer by rookie second baseman and former first-round pick Joe Panik.
At that point, it seemed the Giants were going to do what they have done all postseason long. With Bumgarner on the mound and a dominating bullpen behind him, San Francisco was in a good position. But Matt Adams and Tony Cruz hit solo homers in a span of three batters in the top of the fourth to give the Cardinals the lead.
The long ball, which hadn’t played a role for the Giants all postseason long, really came up big in this one. That was only magnified by Morse’s blast, which seemed to surprise even him.
For Bruce Bochy and Co., it’s an improbable run to the World Series after finishing behind the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West and having to defeat the Pittsburgh Pirates in the wild card game.
With the Giants victory, it’s the first time in World Series history that two teams who did not win their division will face off for a chance to take home the hardware. They will take on an equally surprising Kansas City Royals team in one of the unthinkable World Series matchups in recent history.
Photo: Bleacher Report