Panik lets Gi­ants live to fight an­other day

Hopewell Junc­tion na­tive’s dou­ble in 13th de­nies Cubs’ bid to clinch Di­vi­sion Se­ries

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - SPORTS - By Janie McCauley AP Base­ball Writer

SAN FRAN­CISCO >> Sure is hard to send these San Fran­cisco Gi­ants home in Oc­to­ber.

Joe Panik dou­bled off the right-cen­ter wall in the 13th in­ning to drive in Bran­don Craw­ford, and the Gi­ants out­lasted the Chicago Cubs 6-5 on Mon­day night in Game 3 to ex­tend their NL Di­vi­sion Se­ries.

Boosted by Conor Gil­laspie’s go-ahead triple in the eighth off Aroldis Chap­man, the Gi­ants ral­lied from a three-run deficit and won their 10th straight game when fac­ing post­sea­son elim­i­na­tion.

San Fran­cisco over­came Kris Bryant’s two-run homer off closer Ser­gio Romo that tied it 5-all in the ninth, and an early three-run shot by pitcher Jake Ar­ri­eta against Gi­ants ace Madi­son Bum­gar­ner.

“Just be­cause we’re down, we’re not out. If we’re breath­ing, we’re still fight­ing,” Panik said.

The wild-card Gi­ants forced Game 4 at their rau­cous ball­park, post­pon­ing a po­ten­tial Cubs clinch party in the vis­i­tors’ club­house.

Chicago lead the best-of-five play­off 2-1 go­ing into Game 4 on Tues­day night.

“We played it hard, we played it right — and they beat us,” Cubs man­ager Joe Mad­don said.

Team­mates piled on Panik, a Hopewell Junc­tion na­tive and John Jay High school grad­u­ate, in cel­e­bra­tion after he came through on the 57th pitch from Mike Mont­gomery, be­gin­ning his fifth in­ning of re­lief. Craw­ford hit a lead­off dou­ble on an 0-2 curve, bring­ing Panik to the plate.

His big hit ended a 5-hour, 4-minute game that was only 29 min­utes shy of the to­tal time it took to play the first two se­ries games com­bined last week at Wrigley Field.

“Some­how we al­ways just

find a way with our backs up against the wall,” Panik said. “It’s al­ways some­body.”

Gil­laspie hit a two-run triple in the eighth and Craw­ford added an RBI sin­gle to give the Gi­ants a 5-3 lead.

Rookie left-han­der Ty Blach earned the win, es­cap­ing a 13th-in­ning jam when pinch-hit­ter David Ross bounced into a dou­ble play .

“There’s a sense of calm­ness,” Panik said. “It’s like we’ve been there be­fore.”

Bryant’s ty­ing drive hit the top of the left-field fence

and bounced into the seats, si­lenc­ing the or­ange tow­el­swirling sell­out crowd. The slug­ger re­ceived a warm hug of con­grat­u­la­tions in the dugout from Chap­man, who had just given up the lead. On a night when the early fo­cus was the mar­quee pitch­ing matchup be­tween Bum­gar­ner and Ar­ri­eta, the bullpens de­cided this one hours later.

Ar­ri­eta’s three-run drive in the sec­ond held up most of the way. “The game had ev­ery­thing — pitch­ing, timely hit­ting on both sides. It was just a fun game to be in­volved with,” Gi­ants man­ager Bruce Bochy said.

Ar­ri­eta’s shot ended Bum­gar­ner’s post­sea­son score­less streak at 24 in­nings.

The left-han­der had also thrown 24 straight shutout in­nings with the Gi­ants fac­ing post­sea­son elim­i­na­tion, a sep­a­rate string that was snapped as well.

Buster Posey hit an RBI sin­gle for the Gi­ants in the third, and Bran­don Belt had a sac­ri­fice fly in the fifth.

Chap­man re­lieved with two on in the eighth, try­ing for the sec­ond six-out save of his ca­reer, and Gil­laspie tripled to deep right­cen­ter to put San Fran­cisco ahead 4-3. Start­ing at third base for a banged-up Ed­uardo Nunez, Gil­laspie also hit a three-run homer in the ninth in­ning for all the runs in Bum­gar­ner’s wild­card win over the Mets last Wed­nes­day in New York.

In the bot­tom of the ninth, Al­bert Almora Jr. made a div­ing catch in deep right field on Posey’s sink­ing liner and dou­bled up Belt at first base for an in­ning-end­ing dou­ble play that kept the Cubs in it.

The Gi­ants won the World Se­ries in 2010, ‘12 and ‘14, and still believe they can get by Chicago and do it again given their remarkable track record with the sea­son at stake. In 2012 against the Reds, San Fran­cisco be­came the first team to come back from an 0-2 deficit and win a best-of-five se­ries with three straight road vic­to­ries. After that, the Gi­ants came back from 3-1 down to beat the St. Louis Car­di­nals in the NL Cham­pi­onship

Se­ries.

“I just think it’s part of our DNA,” Belt said. “We never think we’re out of it.”

CHAP­MAN GIVES IT UP

Chap­man en­tered in the eighth and struck out Hunter Pence with five con­sec­u­tive pitches clocked at 101 or 102 mph. That brought up Gil­laspie, who grounded out his first three times up. He fouled off the first of­fer­ing be­fore driv­ing the ball beyond a div­ing Almora in right-cen­ter.

Gil­laspie has knocked in five of San Fran­cisco’s 11 runs this post­sea­son.

“Give Gil­laspie credit,” Mad­don said. “He did it a

cou­ple days ago. He got an el­e­vated fast­ball and hit it to the far part of the ball­park. I think it sur­prised a lot of peo­ple.”

It was the 10th ex­tra-base hit Chap­man has al­lowed to a left-handed bat­ter in his ca­reer — and the first triple.

PA­GAN SCRATCHED

The only Gi­ants player with strong num­bers (.455 av­er­age) against Ar­ri­eta was a late scratch. Left fielder An­gel Pa­gan got pulled from the lineup about an hour be­fore the first pitch be­cause of back spasms. Pa­gan had a .455 av­er­age (5 for 11) against Ar­ri­eta with a dou­ble and two strike­outs. Gre­gor Blanco re­placed him.

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