Okay, whatever craziness sucked the excellence out of the NL starting pitching certainly didn’t exist tonight. Both the Cardinals and Giants starters did really phenomenal jobs — the Cardinals’ starter (one of the best NL pitchers outside of LA) went a full 7 innings in his 97 pitches, giving up just 4 hits and striking out 7 batters; and the Giants’ starter (a personal favorite to watch in the NL because of his work ethic for excellence, precision, and style) threw 98 pitches over his 8 innings, giving up 5 hits and striking out 5. Honestly, it was a pretty even match, pitching-wise, and it was fun to watch the two duke it out (as it were) while the opponent’s offense attempted its best to overrule their efforts.
And that they did. The Cardinals first scored in the 3rd inning on an RBI double, but the Giants response in the bottom of that inning was a 2-out 2-run home run. The Cards didn’t wait long in defeat, coming back in the top of the 4th with 2 solo home runs to jump back in the lead. It would sit at 3-2 Cards for most of the game as the starter continued to power forward with their finesse. Into the Cardinals’ bullpen in the 8th, the lead-off Giant (a pinch-hitter for the starting pitcher) smacked a solo home run to tie up the game. And AT&T’s mass of orange jumped into action, energy pulsating everywhere in eager anticipation of the possibility that this would be the game to send this team back to the World Series once again.
In the top of the 9th, the Giants’ reliever got into a bit of trouble loading the bases with 2 outs, so they turned to one of their best relievers (who has pitched in most of their postseason games rather flawlessly since he joined the team in 2009, currently holding a career ALCS cumulative ERA of 0.68) who threw just 2 pitches to get them out of the jam and the inning. He would be the one on the mound (and thus on record for the win) when the Giants would come up to bat in the bottom of the 9th. Hope alive and palpable everywhere with a lead-off single and a runner on with a walk and just one out when the next batter did the incredible — a giant power swing and the ball sailed deep into the right field seats. Yes, a 3-run walk-off home run, and the Giants are on their way to meet the Royals this Tuesday for the World Series.
NLCS Game 5: Giants over Cardinals 6-3, Giants win series 4-1
And for “This Day in Yankee History”, we go back just 11 years to another World Series. So the Yankees faced off against the Red Sox in the 2003 ALCS, the Yankees winning the AL East division and the Red Sox the Wild Card. And 2003 was the first year the Red Sox were actually decent in quite a few years, so the city of Boston held their breath, especially due in part to that they were going into Game 7 (October 16, 2003) tied with their long-time rivals. Boston jumped ahead early, but the Yankees tied up the game and sent it into extras. Infielder Aaron Boone came into the game as a pinch-runner in the 8th, but didn’t get a chance to bat until the bottom of the 11th. His first at-bat, he took the first pitch and slammed that ball into the left field seats, sending the Yankee onto the World Series. They would go on to lose to the Marlins, but forever, that one night 11 years ago became cemented as the “Aaron Boone Game“. Gotta love baseball — expect the unexpected!