SAN FRANCISCO — In past postseasons, Bruce Bochy would lovingly call his refuse-to-lose club a bunch of cockroaches. With their backs once again against the wall, the Giants lived to fight another day.
They scored two runs off dominant closer Aroldis Chapman in the eighth, and after Sergio Romo blew the save in the ninth, Joe Panik walked the Cubs off in the bottom of the 13th inning. The 6-5 win was clinched five hours and four minutes after the first pitch.
Brandon Crawford kickstarted the winning rally with a double to right off Mike Montgomery, pitching his fifth inning. Panik followed with a double off the arches in right-center.
Following one of the wildest baseball games in years, the Giants and Cubs will turn to Matt Moore and John Lackey, respectively, for Tuesday’s Game 4. Monday night’s late rally came hours after Madison Bumgarner couldn’t pull his usual Superman routine.
Bumgarner took a 24-inning postseason scoreless streak into the second, and he barely made it back to the dugout. Addison Russell was hit by a pitch and Javier Baez worked a deep count before reaching on an infield single to third. Miguel Montero helped Bumgarner, lining out to right on the first pitch, but opposing pitcher Jake Arrieta made sure the rally didn’t go to waste.
With two strikes, Bumgarner and Buster Posey tried to run a fastball past Arrieta at the letters. It came in at 92 mph and caught too much of the plate. It went out at 106 mph, landing in the second row of the left field bleachers.
When Bumgarner wanted to participate in the Home Run Derby in July, Arrieta told reporters that he should get a shot as well, saying, “He can hit the ball a long way, but I can too.” He proved his point on the biggest stage, and he continued a remarkable run for his pitching staff. When Arrieta’s fifth career homer hit the seats, the Cubs’ pitchers had driven in six runs in the series and the Giants had scored just two.
George Kontos started warming up in the second and again in the third, but Bumgarner stranded a pair in both innings. Posey got the Giants on the board with a single in the bottom of the third and Hunter Pence appeared to have another RBI, but Ben Zobrist tracked his two-out fly ball down as he drifted in front of the 421-feet sign in right-center.
The Giants inched closer in the fifth, when Denard Span tripled and scored on a deep sacrifice fly by Brandon Belt. The nail biter then rolled into the late innings.
Derek Law stranded a runner in the sixth, ending the inning with a strikeout of Dexter Fowler. The rookie pumped his fist repeatedly and screamed, and he came back out for a scoreless seventh.
Arrieta went an inning longer than Bumgarner, getting through a perfect sixth thanks to a spectacular play by Baez at second and curious call by the replay umpires in New York. He turned the ball over to a bullpen that had not allowed a run in 32 1/3 innings against the Giants coming into Game 3.
The Giants still trailed 3-2 heading into the eighth, but Belt hit a leadoff single and Posey drew a walk. Joe Maddon called for Chapman, who was dominant in the first two games of the series but had just one prior six-out save. He would record just one out.
Pence struck out, but Conor Gillaspie, the wild-card hero, smoked a 101 mph fastball into Triples Alley, giving the Giants the lead as AT&T Park shook. Crawford provided a huge insurance run, hitting another 101 mph missile right back up the middle.
The lead would last just a few minutes, as a season-long problem popped up again in the ninth. Romo opened the ninth with a walk of Dexter Fowler and then floated a slider right down the middle to Kris Bryant, the likely MVP. He hit a high fly ball that landed right on top of the Chevron cartoon car in left field and skipped into the seats, tying the game.
Belt walked with one out in the bottom of the ninth and broke for home on Posey’s liner to the right-field corner, only to be doubled off when Albert Almora made a diving catch on the warning track. Panik reached second in the 11th, but Trevor Brown, the last position player on Bochy’s bench, and Span grounded out.
The Cubs threatened in the 12th, with two singles against Ty Blach, who was put on the roster in large part because Bruce Bochy remembered how Yusmeiro Petit saved Game 2 of the 2014 NLDS. The rookie got David Ross to hit into an inning-ending double play.