First up, congratulations to the Giants and the good folks over at McCovey Chronicles. Three World Series appearances in 5 years is quite a feat. Represent the National League well, guys.
As for us here in Mudville, it'll be a lot of window-staring-out-of and spring-waiting.
It was a helluva season to be sure. We got to see another crop of young talent come into their own. We got to see a lot of really exciting baseball down the stretch. And we got October baseball in St. Louis yet again. All terrific.
Tonight the St. Louis Cardinals lost Game 5 of the National League Championship Series by the score of 6 to 3 with a bottom of the 9th home run by Travis Ishikawa.
Starter Adam Wainwright looked much, much better than he has recently. His curve was working well tonight and his outing was nearly vintage Waino. The only 2 runs he allowed were on a Joe Panik home run in the 3rd. His line on the night: 7 IP, 2 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 97 pitches. A far better performance than I had allowed myself to hope for after watching his last couple of starts.
Madison Bumgarner was excellent as well, putting up 8 IP, 3 ER, 2 BB, 5 K.
After missing out on a nice scoring chance in the 1st due to a Jhonny Peralta line into double play (that was ripped to Pablo Sandoval at third), the Cards were able to get on the board in the 3rd. Tony Cruz and Matt Carpenter both worked free passes and Jon Jay lined a double just over Ishikawa's glove in left field to drive Cruz home.
After the Panik home run put the Giants up 2-1, Matt Adams answered in the 4th by smoking a towering home run over the cliff-like right field wall at AT&T Park to tie the game at 2. Then Tony Cruz, yes that Tony Cruz, took Bumgarner into the left field bleachers for a 3-2 Cardinals lead and much jubilation.
And then, 4 innings of dueling gooseeggs.
A.D.A.M. K'd Brandon Crawford in the bottom of the 4th with death by 1,000 curves and struck out the side in the 6th.
With two outs and nothing shaking on the bases, Wainwright batted for himself in the 7th and came back out to work the bottom half. He set down the side 1-2-3, with a little help from a nice play by Adams to swat down a Crawford grounder. Smash fliped to Waino covering first, stretching out to make the play.
Pat Neshek came out for the 8th, double switched for Matt Holliday. Peter Bourjos was installed in center, with Jay shifting over to left. Mike Morse pinch hit for Bumgarner and quickly tied the game back up with a home run. If nothing else, the Giants' runs weren't coming from General Baseball Weirdness tonight.
Santiago Casilla was given the ball for the 9th. Adams drew a walk, and Randal Grichuk singled. With Adams in scoring position, he was lifted for pinch runner Daniel Descalso. Kolten Wong grounded sharply to third, where the ball shot off Sandoval's glove. Unfortunately it went straight to Crawford who got the out at second. Wong stole second and Cruz walked (again!) to load the bases.
Jeremy Affeldt spelled Casilla and Oscar Taveras was sent out to pinch hit for Bourjos. He chopped back to the pitcher and thus endeth the inning.
Perhaps pinch hitting for Cruz was the better move there, as Affeldt probably wasn't warm at that point.
Meanwhile, Michael Wacha had been lurking in the bullpen for a few innings. He was finally called upon in the bottom of the 9th. He looked pretty much like you might expect a pitcher that hadn't pitched in a few weeks and had injury questions might look. To cut to the heart of it, Ishikawa is forever enshrined in Giants lore and let's leave it at that.
Enjoy the World Series, if you can bear it. Baseball is nearly done for 2014 and the offseason is cold and grey and bleak.