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Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Giants improbably knock Aroldis Chapman out of game, win in extras

Aroldis Chapman Cubs

The San Francisco Giants really are a special team in the postseason.

The Giants somehow managed to knock Aroldis Chapman out of the game when they were up against the wall at AT&T Park in Game 3 of the NLDS against the Cubs on Monday night, and then they rallied in the 13th to win it.

Joe Maddon made the decision to bring in Chapman after his relievers allowed a hit and walk to start the bottom of the eighth inning with Chicago up 3-2. With runners on first and second with nobody out, the southpaw flamethrower struck out Hunter Pence. That’s when it looked like Maddon’s decision to go with his best bullpen arm would pay off. But then a funny thing happened.

Wild card game hero Conor Gillaspie delivered again as he cleared the bases with a 1-out triple to give the Giants a 4-3 lead. As if that weren’t enough, Brandon Crawford followed with an RBI single to make it 5-3.

That’s two left-handed hitters getting big hits off Aroldis Chapman in the most tense situations possible. And they beat the odds.

After a walk, Maddon relieved Chapman with Justin Grimm, who got out of the inning.

To put things in perspective, Chapman had only allowed four runs — three earned — since being acquired by the Cubs in July. Three runs were scored on his watch on Monday. The Giants just do not die.

Then after being up 5-3, they blew the lead by allowing a 2-run home run to Kris Bryant in the 9th to tie the game and send it to extras. But the Giants had more magic in store. In the 13th, Brandon Crawford and Joe Panik had back-to-back doubles to give the Giants a 6-5 win.

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