What a game!!!!!! Game 3 of the World Series had it all and then some.
After giving up a lead off double and a run in the first inning to start his first appearance in the World Series at age 39, the Giants’ Tim Hudson settled down and held the Royals to one run through the end of the fifth while his team was unable to give him any run support. After getting the first out in the sixth, he gave up a single and a run scoring double to make it 2-0, he then got the hot hitting Lorenzo Cain to ground to third for the second out before being replaced by Javier Lopez. Lopez then gave up a signal to Eric Hosmer to score the third run before striking out Mike Moustakos to end the inning behind 3-0.
In the bottom of the sixth, Jeremy Guthrire, who had pitched shutout ball for five innings, without the benefit of a strikeout or giving up a walk, to become the first pitcher in Series history to go five or more innings without a walk or strikeout, gave up a leadoff single and a long, run scoring double to pinch hitter Michael Morse. He was then relieved by Kelvin Herrera. Herrera gave up a walk but got the next three batters on ground balls with the second run scoring on a grounder and the inning ended with the Royals up 3-2.
In the seventh, Herrera, the first third of the Royals amazing bullpen combination, walked Hunter Pence, to put the tying run on first with no outs and then struck out Brandon Belt. Royals Manager Ned Yost then brought in rookie left hander Brandon Finnegan, who became the first pitcher in history to pitch in the College World Series and the World Series in the same year.
Finnegan, who made his big league debut in Yankee Stadium on September 6, just under seven weeks ago, and only pitched nine innings in the regular season, proceeded to get pinch hitter Juan Perez to fly out to left and struck out the tough Brandon Crawford to end the inning.
As could be expected, Wade Davis, part 2 of the bullpen team came in for the eighth and pitched a scoreless 1-2-3 inning, striking out two. The game went to the last of the ninth 3-2 and Greg Holland, the third part of the bullpen team, got the Giants in order, with the last two batters hitting back to him for outs at first. It was Holland’s seventh save in the post season and ties the all time record with as many as four games still left to play.
The Giants have their backs to the wall tonight, needing to win two in a row at home to get back to Kansas City with a 3-2 lead. The Royals, on the other hand, need just one more win in San Francisco to go home with a commanding 3-2 lead.
Tonight’s Game 4 pits Kansas City’s 31 year old left hander, Jason Vargas against the Giants 37 year old right hander Ryan Vogelsong. Vargas, 11-10 with a 3.71 ERA in the regular season has had two good starts in the post season, going six innings and giving up two runs in the ALDS and getting no decision against the Angels and going 5 1/3 innings against the Orioles in the ALCS and giving up just one run for the win. In 14 road games this year, he posted a 2.73 ERA.
Vogelsong was 8-13 on the season with a 4.00 ERA and also had two starts in the playoffs. In the NLDS, he held Washington to 2 hits and one run in 5 2/3 innings but, in the NLCS, St. Louis rocked him for 7 hits and 4 runs in just 3 innings. He had a 3.06 ERA at home during the season opposed to 5.10 on the road.
If Vargas can get the Royals through the sixth inning ahead or close, I wouldn’t bet against the Kansas City bullpen coming through again. However, the Giants bats, who have been held to two runs in each of the last two games, are due to come to life and they just might do so against the left hander tonight. My money is on the Giants tonight.