Cardinals - 001 200 000 - 3 6 0 Giants - 002 000 013 - 6 7 0Travis Ishikawa's three-run home run in the bottom of the ninth clinched the 2014 National League pennant for the San Francisco Giants, the team's third NL pennant in the last five seasons. The Giants will play Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday against the Royals in Kansas City.
The Giants had tied the game in the previous inning on a pinch-hit homer by Michael Morse. Although Madison Bumgarner (8-5-3-2-5, 98) trailed for much of the game, he retired the last 13 batters he faced.
The ninth inning rally came against Cardinals starter-turned-reliever Michael Wacha, who had not pitched since September 26. It was clear from the outset that Wacha did not have good command. After seeing three fastballs, Pablo Sandoval lined an off-speed pitch to right-center for a single. Hunter Pence jumped on Wacha's first delivery and flied to right. Wacha then walked Brandon Belt on four pitches. St. Louis pitching coach Derek Lilliquist came out for a mound visit and despite clear evidence of Wacha aiming, rather than pitching, the ball during Belt's AB - and two other relievers ready in the bullpen - Wacha stayed on the hill. Ishikawa looked at ball one, then ball two. On 2-0, he got an inside fastball and crushed it over the fence in right-center field.
Asked after the game about using Wacha, St. Louis manager Mike Matheny showed he was as dumb as dirt.
All of the Giants' runs came on home runs, despite not having hit any dongs in the first four games of the NLCS. After St. Louis took a 1-0 lead on Jon Jay's RBI-double (a routine fly ball that Ishikawa misplayed), Joe Panik homered down the right field line in the third for two runs. Morse greeted Pat Neshek with a pinch-hit homer to start the eighth. And Ishikawa ended the Cardinals' season in the ninth.
After San Francisco had taken a 2-1 lead, the Cardinals quickly got the lead back in the fourth on solo shots by Mike Adams and Tony Cruz.
Wacha was also the losing pitcher in the game that ended the Cardinals' 2013 season: Game 6 of last year's World Series, at Fenway Park.