It took a three-run clutch blast from Giants third basemen Conor Gillaspie off All Star closer, Jeurys Familia, in the top of the ninth inning to propel San Francisco past a dominant pitching performance by Mets starter Noah Syndergaard and into the NLDS. The Giants offense was held without a hit until Denard Span’s single to centerfield off “Thor” broke up the no-no in the sixth.
Span was also a part of a key challenge in the fourth inning as he was the first baserunner off Syndergaard. After leading off the inning with a walk, Span tried stealing second and was gunned down by former Tampa Bay Ray’s catcher, Rene Rivera. Upon further review – the play stood as called, erasing the lead-off runner for the Giants.
With something cooking in the sixth inning for San Fran, it would be more stellar defense that would save the Mets. Left fielder, Curtis Granderson, would make a highlight reel catch against the wall on a deep ball off the bat of Brandon Belt following a Span single and stolen base. The game remained scoreless thanks to “Grandy.”
Top of the ninth. Scoreless ball game. Brandon Crawford leads off with a double off Familia. Angel Pagan strikes out. Joe Panik follows with a walk. Stepping to the plate – the offensive hero of the evening, Conor Gillaspie. Not your first choice of players to crush a three-run homerun off an All Star closer considering he’d only hit six in the regular season in 101 games. But, alas, he deposited said home run into the right field seats giving Bumgarner all the support he needed to close out his complete game shutout of the Mets.
Familia blew three saves in the World Series last season thanks in part to poor defense behind him. He fell victim to that, yet again – this time in a “one and done” wild card game against one of the most dominant post-season pitchers in recent memory. Bumgarner finished with his second consecutive NL wild card shutout.
In a classic post-season pitcher’s duel, the Giants got one step closer to continuing their string of World Series championships every even year since 2010. Their 3-0 wild card win on Wednesday night gets them a date in the NLDS with the team that finished with the best record in Major League Baseball – the Chicago Cubs.
Game one of the NLDS is Friday night at Wrigley Field in Chicago.
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