SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Travis Ishikawa blasted a walk-off three-run home run in the ninth inning as the San Francisco Giants beat the St Louis Cardinals 6-3 on Thursday to clinch the National League Championship series and return to the World Series.
The Giants had gone six consecutive playoff games without hitting a home run but belted three in Game Five to complete a 4-1 triumph in the best-of-seven series.
“It’s a great feeling right now, I can’t describe it,” Ishikawa told reporters as his team mates and Giants fans celebrated wildly at AT&T Park.
“I was just trying to look for a good pitch to hit, I got a fastball. I‘m just so thankful for this organization to give me this opportunity.”
San Francisco advance to a third World Series appearance in five seasons, where they will face the Kansas City Royals, who won the American League Championship Series on Wednesday.
The Giants captured the MLB title in both 2010 and 2012.
San Francisco continued their magic touch in the playoffs by coming from behind to sting St Louis yet again and win for the 15th time in their last 17 post-season games.
With the home team trailing 3-2 in the eighth inning, Michael Morse came up and bombed a pinch-hit solo homer to even the score.
”I almost had to pinch myself, I thought I was dreaming,“ Morse said. I wanted to be ready. You never know when a situation like this will come up and a team will count on you.”
In the ninth, Pablo Sandoval singled and Brandon Belt drew a walk to bring up Ishikawa, who got the best of Cardinals pitcher Michael Wacha.
For the Cardinals, it was the third straight game that saw them squander a lead and lose to San Francisco.
St Louis ace Adam Wainwright limited the Giants to just two runs in seven innings and was in line for his first win during these playoffs after disappointing efforts in his previous two starts.
Madison Bumgarner went eight innings and allowed three runs for the Giants.
Jon Jay gave the Cardinals the early 1-0 edge with an RBI double in the third inning. He finished with two hits and hit .500 for the series.
Joe Panik answered with a two-run blast in the bottom of the third to put San Francisco ahead 2-1.
Matt Adams and Tony Cruz then homered in the fourth as the Cardinals regained the advantage but in the end, the Giants called on their ability to win close playoffs games to emerge victorious.
Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by John O'Brien