Sun Oct 24 03:05am EDT
It sometimes wasn't pretty and it was by no means conventional, but the biggest performance of NLCS Game 6 goes to the five-headed monster that came out of the San Francisco Giants bullpen to seal the team's first National League pennant since 2002.
Manager Bruce Bochy used five pitchers — three relievers and two starters — in a marathon emergency situation after starter Jonathan Sanchez(notes) was pulled with no outs in the third after his run-in with Chase Utley. And while relying on your bullpen for seven innings in a clinching situation on the road might be a recipe for disaster on most teams, the Giants' firemen responded with seven scoreless innings in a 3-2 victory over the Phillies.
The biblical chain of relief went like this: Jeremy Affeldt(notes) begat Madison Bumgarner(notes), who begat Javier Lopez(notes), who begat Tim Lincecum(notes), who begat usual closer Brian Wilson(notes). That last guy Wilson — the guy with the biblical beard — used a five-out save to slam the door and caught Ryan Howard(notes) looking to start the party in the visitor's clubhouse at Citizens Bank Park.
• Affeldt recorded three outs in the third after inheriting two runners from Sanchez. He finished his appearance with a 1-2-3 fourth.
• Bumgarner, a lefthanded starter who needed the bullpen's help in Game 4, returned the favor in Game 6 and got out of a bases-loaded jam in the fifth. He also allowed a leadoff double by Ibanez to go for naught in the sixth.
• Lopez went 1-2-3 in the seventh and struck out Ryan Howard to end the inning. He was the fourth-straight lefthander to be used by Bochy.
• And last, but not least, Wilson induced an inning-ending double play from Carlos Ruiz(notes) and then withstood two of his own walks in the ninth to clinch the pennant and end a team relief effort for the ages.
"It was delicious," Wilson said.