Gil­laspie’s homer helps Gi­ants thwart Mets

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - By Mike Fitz­patrick

Madi­son Bum­gar­ner pitched a four-hit­ter and in­jury sub­sti­tute Conor Gil­laspie hit a three­run homer in the ninth in­ning that sent San Fran­cisco to a 3-0 vic­tory over the New York Mets in the NL wild-card game.

NEW YORK >> No­body takes to Oc­to­ber like Madi­son Bum­gar­ner and the San Fran­cisco Gi­ants.

Bum­gar­ner pitched a four-hit­ter for his lat­est post­sea­son gem, out­last­ing Noah Syn­der­gaard in a clas­sic duel be­tween aces, and in­jury sub­sti­tute Conor Gil­laspie hit a three-run homer in the ninth in­ning that sent San Fran­cisco to a 3-0 vic­tory over the New York Mets in the NL wild-card game Wed­nes­day night.

Gil­laspie con­nected off All-Star closer Jeurys Fa­milia, who led the ma­jors this year with a club-record 51 saves while al­low­ing only one home run.

With their ninth con­sec­u­tive vic­tory when fac­ing post­sea­son elim­i­na­tion, man­ager Bruce Bochy and the Gi­ants ad­vanced to face the NL Cen­tral cham­pion Cubs in a best-of-five Di­vi­sion Se­ries. Game 1 is Fri­day night at ven­er­a­ble Wrigley Field in Chicago.

The good news for the Cubs as they at­tempt to end a championship drought that dates to 1908 is that Bum­gar­ner prob­a­bly won’t start un­til Game 3 — and would only be avail­able once on full rest.

That’s be­cause the big left-han­der has been un­touch­able un­der pres­sure.

The last time Bum­gar­ner was on the mound in the post­sea­son, he saved Game 7 of the 2014 World Se­ries in Kansas City with five score­less in­nings on two days’ rest to cap one of the great­est play­off per­for­mances in base­ball his­tory.

In­clud­ing his four-hit shutout at Pitts­burgh in the 2014 wild-card game, he has tossed 23 straight score­less in­nings in win­ner-take-all games.

Now, the Gi­ants have a chance to ex­tend their pat­tern of even-year cham­pi­onships af­ter win­ning World Se­ries crowns in 2010, ‘12 and ‘14.

In a matchup be­tween the past two NL cham­pi­ons, Syn­der­gaard went seven in­nings. Bran­don Craw­ford dou­bled lead­ing off the ninth against Fa­milia. An­gel Pa­gan struck out af­ter fail­ing to get a bunt down, and Joe Panik walked.

Gil­laspie, start­ing at third base for in­jured All­Star Ed­uardo Nunez, drove a 1-1 pitch over the fence in right field and pumped his arm as he rounded first.

Bum­gar­ner closed with a 1-2-3 ninth against the 3-4-5 hit­ters and smacked his glove in tri­umph when rookie T.J. Rivera flied out to end it.

With his siz­zling fast­ball clock­ing 99 mph and long, blond locks dan­gling down his neck, Syn­der­gaard held San Fran­cisco hit­less un­til De­nard Span’s two-out sin­gle in the sixth.

Ea­ger to take ad­van­tage of Syn­der­gaard’s slow de­liv­ery, Span stole sec­ond be­fore Bran­don Belt sent a long drive to deep cen­ter. Cur­tis Gran­der­son, moved over from right field late in the sea­son be­cause of in­juries to two other out­field­ers, crashed hard with his left shoul­der into the padded fence 408 feet from home plate and tum­bled to the warn­ing track.

He held onto the ball, how­ever, and was shaken up a bit be­fore get­ting to his feet and jog­ging off the field as team­mates waited to high-five him and fans chanted “Grandy! Grandy!” Syn­der­gaard raised his arm, while Belt tossed his hel­met in frus­tra­tion be­tween first and sec­ond.

Syn­der­gaard struck out 10 in seven in­nings of twohit ball and fired 42 pitches at least 98 mph — more than the Phillies (41) and In­di­ans (35) threw all year, ac­cord­ing to a tweet from In­side Edge.

And while Syn­der­gaard sim­ply over­pow­ered the Gi­ants at times, Bum­gar­ner kept the Mets off balance by mix­ing pin­point pitches and chang­ing speeds from around 93-77 mph.

New York came out swing­ing af­ter man­ager Terry Collins said be­fore the game his hit­ters had seen enough video of Bum­gar­ner over the past two days to know he would chal­lenge them. But the ag­gres­sive ap­proach played right into the hands of Bum­gar­ner and the Gi­ants, with a bullpen that strug­gled badly down the stretch.

The big lefty was able to get quick outs early and eas­ily went deep into the game. He needed only seven pitches to get through each of the first three in­nings, with the help of a dou­ble play.

Still, he was vis­i­bly ag­gra­vated at times by Mike Win­ters’ strike zone — so was Mets re­liever Ad­di­son Reed, it ap­peared — and had a quick chat with the plate um­pire be­tween bat­ters in the sixth.

KATHY WILENS — THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

San Fran­cisco Gi­ants third base­man Conor Gil­laspie is con­grat­u­lated by third base coach Roberto Kelly af­ter his three-run homer in the top of the ninth in­ning against the New York Mets in the Na­tional League wild-card game on Wed­nes­day.

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