The St. Louis Cardinals fought their way back only to see Randy Choate completely crumble in the 10th inning, eventually giving up the game winning run as the San Francisco Giants started loading the bases and made the most of a throwing error from the veteran pitcher, winning 5-4 and taking a 2-1 lead in the NLCS.
Choate faced three batters in the 10th inning, giving up a hit and a walk which ended up costing his team the game. Gregor Blanco grounded out to third base which put Choate with the opportunity to take out Blanco at first while Brandon Crawford advanced to third. Choate made an awful throw, wide and too strong, letting the pressure get to him, which left Brandon Belt with no chance of completing the out. The ball sailed wide of first base and Crawford came through with the walk off run.
The Giants were putting pressure on the Cardinals early, and getting a first inning run thanks to an RBI-double from Hunter Pence. By the time Travis Ishikawa was at-bat, the bases were loaded, and his double turned into a 3-RBI hit, taking the Giants up to a 4-0 lead, which John Lackey was able to recover from. He gave up five hits and four runs in six innings, but most of the damage was done in that first inning.
The Cardinals came back, as expected. There’s just not enough between these teams in terms of quality and talent to let a blowout occur. It began with a Kolten Wong triple that helped score Jon Jay and Matt Holiday, and was followed by an RBI singe from Johnny Peralta in the sixth inning, also scoring Jay. The comeback was completed when Randal Grichuk hit a home run to the left side of AT&T Park, his only hit of the day.
The win went to Sergio Romo, who already blew one game for the Giants this season. He needed to get just one out in order to pick up the W, although that was only achieved after the Randy Choate error. Tim Hudson started for the Giants and gave up six hits and four runs in 7.1 innings as the game started slipping from him later during his start. Santiago Casilla put in a very good relief inning in the ninth, not allowing a hit or walk.
We don’t do anything easy. We might have got a little lucky there with Perez when he couldn’t get a bunt down and he gets a base hit. But Blanco laid down a beauty. … I don’t know if that’s luck as much as great bunt, great speed to put pressure on them.
And that continues to be the way the Giants pick up wins. Good pitching, but that doesn’t happen all the time. On the hitter’s part in this bargain it continues to be about avoiding the big hits and constantly putting pressure on the Cardinals pitchers with running bases at every opportunity. The tricky winds in San Francisco add some unpredictability to the whole thing, creating errors and mistakes, exactly the thing the Giants are counting on.