Conor Gillaspie’s three-run homer in the ninth inning sends Giants to the NLDS
Even year -- ahem -- magic is alive and well as Giants third baseman Conor Gillaspie’s three-run home run in the top of the ninth inning off of Mets closer Jeurys Familia broke a scoreless tie and helped send his team to the NLDS against the Cubs.
Starters Madison Bumgarner and Noah Syndergaard traded zeroes for seven innings as the pitcher’s duel unfolded exactly as expected. Syndergaard brought a no-hitter nearly through the sixth inning, but Denard Span broke it up with a well-struck single to center field. It was one of only two hits Syndergaard would allow on the evening along with three walks and 10 strikeouts on 108 pitches over seven innings. Addison Reed worked a scoreless eighth before giving way to Familia in the ninth.
Bumgarner, meanwhile, skated through the first three innings on a total of 21 pitches. While the Mets would become more selective at the dish, it didn’t amount to much. Through eight innings, Bumgarner limited them to four hits and a pair of walks with six strikeouts on 106 pitches.
In the top of the ninth against Familia, Brandon Crawford led off with a double to left-center. Joe Panik walked to bring Gillaspie to the plate. Gillaspie took a 96 MPH sinker for a strike and a 96 MPH sinker for a ball, then blasted a 96 MPH sinker to right-center, clearing the fence by plenty to give the Giants a 3-0 lead.
There was no chance Bumgarner was coming out once the Giants took the lead in the ninth, unless manager Bruce Bochy wanted to get punched to the moon. Bumgarner got Yoenis Cespedes to fly out to right field, Curtis Granderson to fly out to left field, and T.J. Rivera to fly out to right-center to end the game.
Bumgarner’s postseason brilliance continues. He now has a 1.94 ERA with an 83/17 K/BB ratio in 97 1/3 career postseason innings.
If there was one person without a particular allegiance to the Giants happy about Gillaspie’s home run, it’s probably Orioles manager Buck Showalter. Showalter was criticized heavily for refusing to bring closer Zach Britton into Tuesday night’s American League Wild Card game, a game which the Orioles lost on a walk-off three-run home run by Edwin Encarnacion. Well, Mets manager Terry Collins used his closer and he ended losing on a walk-off three-run homer anyway.
The Giants will head to Wrigley Field to face the Cubs in the NLDS which begins on Friday at 9:00 PM EDT.