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.

Watch: Christian Yelich continues to make a case for NL MVP repeat

Christian Yelich
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Christian Yelich simply can’t be stopped. The Brewers outfielder (and defending NL MVP) entered Saturday’s game with a league-leading 11 home runs after swatting two against the Dodgers on Friday night, then clubbed another two homers in the first six innings of Saturday’s game.

The first came on a 2-1 pitch from the Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu, who lobbed a changeup toward the bottom of the strike zone before it was lifted up and out to center field for a solo home run in the third inning.

While Chase Anderson and Alex Claudio held down the fort against the Dodgers’ lineup, Yelich prepared for his second blast in the sixth inning — this one a 421-foot double-decker on a first-pitch curveball from Ryu.

Yelich’s 13 home runs not only gave him a stronger grip on the league’s leaderboard, but helped him tie yet another franchise record, too. Per MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, he’s tied with Prince Fielder for the most home runs hit by a Brewers player in a single month, and sits just one home run shy of tying Álex Rodríguez’s 2007 record for most home runs hit within any club’s first 22 games of the season.

It may be far too early to predict which players will finish first in the MVP races this fall, but there’s no denying Yelich has already set himself apart from the competition. Through Saturday’s performance, he’s batting .361/.459/.880 with a 1.329 OPS and MLB-best 31 RBI across 98 PA so far.