Game 3 of the NLCS was another terrific game between the San Francisco Giants and St. Louis Cardinals. It just happened to have a bizarre ending.
Randy Choate threw away Gregor Blanco's bunt, allowing the winning run to score in the 10th inning in a 5-4 win for the Giants. The Cardinals had rallied from a 4-0 deficit to tie, but once the bullpens took over, scoring was halted until the Giants broke through.
The unusual nature of the game-ending play
Choate's error marked the third time that a postseason game ended with an error by the pitcher. The other two instances occurred in 1914 (the Boston Braves defeated the Philadelphia Athletics and 1969 (the New York Mets defeated the Baltimore Orioles), both in the World Series.
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In fact, in each of the five previous instances in which a batter reached on an error to end a postseason game, that team went on to win the World Series (note there were two other game-ending errors, including last year's obstruction play in the World Series, but the batter did not reach as the result of them).
Good way to start
The Giants scored four runs in the first inning, the first on an RBI hit by Hunter Pence and the last three on a first-pitch double by Travis Ishikawa.
Ishikawa has changed his approach for the postseason and is netting positive results.
During the regular season, he swung at the first pitch in a plate appearance only 30 percent of the time.
Ishikawa swung at the first pitch 15 of 23 times this postseason.
He is 4-for-8 in this series and 6-for-21 in the postseason.
The Giants were 4-for-25 in the first inning of games this postseason prior to Game 3 of the NLCS. They went 4-for-7 in this game.
Giant effort from the bullpen
Four Giants relievers combined to throw 3⅔ scoreless innings after Tim Hudson allowed Randal Grichuk's tying home run.
Sergio Romo induced the final out, getting Matt Holliday to ground to third with a man on first in the top of the 10th.
Romo got the win after netting the loss for his one-batter effort in Game 2, when Kolten Wong beat him with a home run.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy's use of Romo in that spot was smart. Since July 22, right-handed hitters are 7-for-51 with 21 strikeouts against Romo.
The Giants bullpen has a 2.22 ERA and a major league-best 0.78 WHIP this postseason.
There have been 86 previous instances of a best-of-seven series being tied 1-1. The Game 3 winner has gone on to win the series 71 percent of the time (61-25).