MLB: Giants outlast Cubs to avoid sweep while Indians, Nats win
Brandon Crawford doubled and scored the winning run on Joe Panik’s double in the 13th inning Monday as the San Francisco Giants outlasted the Chicago Cubs 6-5 to avoid elimination in their Major League Baseball playoff series.
It took five hours and four minutes but the Giants won a record 10th “do-or-die” playoff game in a row to pull within 2-1 in the best-of-five National League series that continues Tuesday at San Francisco.
“When our backs are against the wall, we always find a way,” Panik said. “There’s a sense of confidence. It’s like we’ve been there before. It’s a matter of staying within ourselves, not trying to do too much and playing like we know we can play.”
The Cubs or Giants will face either the Los Angeles Dodgers or Washington for a berth in the World Series, the visiting Nationals routing the Dodgers 8-3 Monday to grab a 2-1 edge in that series, which also continues Tuesday in California.
And the Cleveland Indians, trying to win their first title since 1948, edged Boston 4-3 to complete a playoff sweep and advance to the American League Championship Series against Toronto.
The Giants seek their fourth title in seven seasons while the Cubs have not won the World Series since 1908, the longest drought in North American pro sports history.
Chicago pitcher Jake Arrieta smashed a three-run homer off San Francisco ace Madison Bumgarner in the second inning.
Arrieta’s crucial homer marked the first time since since 1967 a pitcher homered off a former Most Valuable Player in the playoffs and was the first homer Bumgarner had surrendered to a rival pitcher in his career.
San Francisco’s Denard Span doubled in the third inning and scored on a Buster Posey single to put the Giants on the scoreboard and the hosts pulled within 3-2 after Span tripled to right field and scored on Brandon Belt’s fifth-inning sacrifice fly.
In the eighth, Belt singled and Posey walked, prompting the Cubs to call on Cuban closing relief pitcher Arolds Chapman.
But Conor Gillaspie tripled, driving in the go-ahead runs off the fastest pitch he had ever faced — a 101-mph fastball, and later scored himself on a Brandon Crawford single to make it 5-3.
“Conor in the eighth inning, that was huge,” Panik said. “It was a total team effort. Our bullpen also kept us in it for a while, gave us a chance to come back and win it.”
In the ninth, Chicago’s Dexter Fowler walked and Kris Bryant followed by smacking a two-run homer just over the left-field wall to pull the Cubs level at 5-5 and send the game to extra innings, where relief pitchers kept the fight going long enough for the Giants batter to strike for the win.
Red Sox burned by a Crisp
Cleveland’s Coco Crisp smashed a two-run homer and Cody Allen silenced two comeback bids to lift the Indians at Boston.
“It was nerve-wracking, intense, but that’s what it’s like at this time of the season,” Crisp said.
Crisp, a 36-year-old outfielder and former Red Sox, belted his blast off Boston reliever Drew Pomeranz to put Cleveland ahead 4-1.
Down to their last out in the ninth, the Red Sox saw Jackie Bradley single to right and Dustin Pedroia walk, but pinch-hitter Travis Shaw flew out to end the game.
At Los Angeles, the Dodgers pulled within 4-3 in the fifth when pinch-hitter Carlos Ruiz blasted a two-run homer.
But four Washington relievers allowed only two hits and no runs over the final 4 2/3 innings while Jayson Werth blasted a homer and a run-scoring double.
“We’re a resilient club,” Werth said. “We’re one of the game’s best teams the past few years. I like our chances.”
No Washington team has won a World Series since 1924 or even reached the World Series since 1933. The current club has never reached the Fall Classic since being founded in 1969 as the Montreal Expos.
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