By Bruce Levine–
SAN FRANCISCO (CBS) — Calmness under the storm is preached in every major league clubhouse. On Monday night, with the season on the line for one team and an NLCS trip waiting for the other, there was all the drama you could want in a postseason matchup.
The end result was a game for the ages and another day of playoff life for the Giants, who used back-to-back doubles from Brandon Crawford and Joe Panik in the 13th inning to earn a 6-5 win against the Cubs in Game 3 of the NLDS at AT&T Park. That cut Chicago’s lead in the series to 2-1 and set up Game 4 on Tuesday night.
“I really never doubt in this team,” Panik said after hitting the game-winner off Cubs left-hander Mike Montgomery. “I really believe in this bunch. I think that is why we are able to come back. To win a game like that in the 13th inning, yeah it’s up there (in accomplishments). Just the thrill of doing it is pretty special.”
Most thought runs would be at a premium with Jake Arrieta and Madison Bumgarne on the hill. The Cubs struck first, scoring in the second inning on Arrieta’s three-run homer after Addison Russell was hit by a pitch and Javier Baez singled. Arrieta hit an 0-2 fastball into the left-field bleachers to shock the ballpark, marking the first homer Bumgarner had ever given up to a pitcher.
That also snapped a 24-inning postseason scoreless streak for Bumgarner, who lasted five innings and allowed those three runs.
“He is really effective up in the the strike zone,” Arrieta said. “I just wanted to put a nice easy swing on it and try and find the ball. That is what I was able to do. It put us in a good spot. We had a chance to win it. They made some plays and swung the bat well enough to turn the tides in their favor.”
The Giants scored a run on Buster Posey’s RBI single in the third inning and a Brandon Belt sacrifice fly in the fifth, when Arrieta was showing signs of fatigue at 85 pitches and with a man on and two outs when Hunter Pence flew out to deep right field.
Arrieta would still gut through the sixth inning. Pedro Strop and Travis Wood worked through a perfect seventh, but the eighth was a disaster for the Cubs. The Giants scored three times, the big hit coming when Conor Gillaspie turned a 3-2 deficit into a 4-3 lead with a two-run triple off of Aroldis Chapman, who had entered with two men on and no outs.
“I am so happy for Conor,” Panik said. “He can hit the fastball, and he proved it against (Jeurys) Familia in New York and then Chapman. He has come up big for us all year.”
In the end it was Montgomery standing up for his team by throwing four shutout innings in relief. This came after Kris Bryant had tied the game with a two-run homer in the ninth.
“The Giants are the Giants,” said Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo, who a tough 0-for-6 evening. “Everything they have, they have earned. They are battle-tested. We are as well. So we will bounce back.”
John Lackey will oppose Matt Moore in Game 4 on Tuesday evening. The Cubs are now 0-8 all time in playoff games in California. They lost three straight to San Diego in 1984, three in a row to the Giants in 1989, once to the Dodgers in 2008 and then in Monday’s Game 3 to the Giants.
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.