Giants win Game 3 on walk-off error, take 2-1 series lead over Cardinals

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Cardinals left-handed specialist Randy Choate was brought into a 4-4 game in the bottom of the 10th inning to face left-handed hitter Brandon Crawford. He walked him.

Then right-handed hitter Juan Perez tried to bunt Crawford over to second base, but botched two attempts. Forced to swing away, he lined to a two-strike single to left field.

Choate remained in the game to face left-handed hitter Gregor Blanco, who botched his first bunt attempt and then got his second bunt attempt down. Choate fielded it on the third base side of the mound and threw the ball away down the right field line.

Game over. Giants win on a walk-off error in an inning that went like no one involved probably planned. Sort of like these playoffs, overall.

And the game was plenty weird even before extra innings. San Francisco scored four first-inning runs off Cardinals starter John Lackey, who then recovered to toss five shutout frames before being removed with only 79 pitches. The first three relievers out of St. Louis’ bullpen tossed one shutout inning apiece before Choate came in and things got crazy.

San Francisco’s bullpen was even better, as four relievers combined to throw 3.2 shutout innings after starter Tim Hudson was left in to serve up a game-tying homer to Randal Grichuk in the seventh inning.

And last but not least: Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval made a great defensive play in the top of the 10th inning, fielding Matt Holliday’s hard-hit ball down the line that almost surely would have scored Jon Jay from first base and put the Cardinals up 5-4.

Yasmani Grandal played himself out of NLCS Game 4

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Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal has not had a good postseason. Entering Monday night’s NLCS Game 3, he was batting .111/.238/.278 in 21 trips to the plate across the NLDS and the first two games of the NLCS.

Defense has also been an issue for Grandal. In Game 1 of the NLCS, Grandal was on the hook for two passed balls. In the sixth inning of Game 3 Monday night, he couldn’t corral a curve in the dirt, which allowed Travis Shaw to score the Brewers’ second run of the night. Starter Walker Buehler was charged with a wild pitch. In the eighth, with Ryan Braun on first base and Shaw at the plate, Grandal again couldn’t corral a pitch in the dirt, allowing Braun to move to second base. Fortunately for the Dodgers, Alex Wood was able to escape the inning with no damage.

Manager Dave Roberts said that Austin Barnes, not Grandal, will start behind the plate for Game 4 on Tuesday night, Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times reports. That comes as no surprise at all. When Grandal struck out with the bases loaded in the ninth inning, Dodger fans regaled him with boos.

Barnes will be an upgrade defensively, but he’s lacking with the bat. He had an 0-for-3 performance in Game 2, though with an RBI, bringing his career slash line in the playoffs to .200/.281/.300 across 57 plate appearances. During the regular season, his career 100 adjusted OPS is a fair bit behind Grandal’s 115. Roberts is trading offense for defense in Game 4. Rich Hill will get the start opposite the Brewers’ Gio González.