Former White Sox Gillaspie strikes again – this time vs. Cubs
SAN FRANCISCO — Conor Gillaspie was at it again.
This time against the Cubs.
The former White Sox third baseman, a hero in the Giants’ Wild Card victory over the Mets on Wednesday, got around on a 100-mph fastball from Cubs closer Aroldis Chapman in Game 3 of the NLDS Monday, driving a two-run triple into the right-center field gap in the bottom of the eighth inning to erase a one-run deficit. Gillaspie would score on Brandon Crawford’s single to give the Giants a two-run lead, which they needed when Kris Bryant tied the game in the ninth with a two-run homer.
The Giants went on to win it, 6-5, in the 13th on Joe Panik’s RBI double, cutting the Cubs lead to 2-1 in the best of five series.
“Unbelievable,” Giants first baseman Brandon Belt said. “You can’t write a script like that. He’s been great for us the last few weeks in the season. As calm as he stays in these big situations with clutch hits.”
The left-handed hitting Gillaspie hit a three-run homer against Mets closer Jeurys Famila in the ninth inning Wednesday, supplying the only runs in the victory that sent the Giants into this series. Then he got Chapman, a left-hander whom he had never faced.
Gillaspie said he looked for a fastball and got it. He said he may have cheated a bit by getting his swing going a bit sooner than normal.
“Pretty much get on the fastball,” he said when asked about his approach against Chapman. “If he throws something else there I’m in trouble. You know he has velocity and you have to be ready to hit. It’s hard to square up under it.”
The Giants staved off elimination and lived for another day. They’ll send lefty Matt Moore against the Cubs and right-hander John Lackey Tuesday night.
“It gives us a little momentum,” Belt said. “Having this crowd really helps as well. Our backs are against the wall. We have to go out and do the same thing.”
Gillaspie, starting at third because Eduardo Nunez has been dealing with a hamstring issue, helped the Giants win an elimination game for the 10th time in a row, the longest streak by any time in postseason history. He’s had a big part in the last two and has driven in five of the Giants’ 11 runs this postseason.
“That’s one of the best, most exciting games I’ve ever been involved in,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “They found a way. Conor, a huge hit.”
“Give Gillaspie credit, man,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “He did it a couple days ago. He got an elevated fastball and hit to the far part of the ballpark. I think it surprised a lot of people.”