Giants manager Bruce Bochy probably wouldn't have scripted Monday night's eighth-inning battle between left-handed-hitting Conor Gillaspie and Cubs lefty closer Aroldis Chapman in the National League Division Series.
"I wasn't arranging for it, trust me," Bochy said Tuesday. "I wouldn't do that to Conor."
Gillaspie came through anyway, furthering his status as one of the Giants' unlikely playoff heroes before they again tried to stave off elimination in Game 4 of the NLDS against the Cubs on Tuesday night at AT&T Park.
Gillaspie's two-run triple to put the Giants ahead briefly in Game 3 made him just the second left-handed batter ever to triple or homer off Chapman, joining the Orioles' Luke Scott, who homered off him in 2011. Brandon Crawford followed with an RBI single, making him and Gillaspie the third pair of left-handed batters to get hits off Chapman in a single game.
"What Conor has been doing for us, I didn't think about hitting for him, to be honest," Bochy said. "He has a good, quick bat. He puts the ball in play. He has experience. He's a professional hitter."
Coupled with his three-run homer to win the NL wild-card game against the Mets, Gilliaspie has driven in five of the Giants' 11 runs this postseason, the first of his career.
The former White Sox third baseman has had plenty of obstacles in his way over the last two seasons to get to this point.
The Sox traded Gillaspie to the Angels in July 2015, and he signed with the Giants as a minor-league free agent in the offseason. He played in 101 regular-season games for the Giants, hitting .262 with six homers and 25 RBIs. He has started all five Giants postseason games thus far because Eduardo Nunez was recovering from a hamstring injury.
After Monday's game, Gillaspie was typically stoic, a quality certainly enhanced by exhaustion from a 5-hour, 4-minute game.
"I'm just trying to win games," Gillaspie said. "We're at that point where we have to win. … Obviously it feels great, but if we end up losing this game, it hurts."
Gillaspie then changed the subject to teammate Joe Panik, who hit the walk-off double Monday. Gillaspie later said he doesn't focus on the track through the South Side to where he's at now.
"I don't really think about that much," Gillaspie said. "I'm just trying to do a good job until we get (Nunez) back. I do everything I can to help, keep working hard and preparing, and let the chips fall where they fall."
The Giants were attempting Tuesday to build on their streak of 10 consecutive victories in postseason elimination games, the longest streak in major-league history. According to Elias Sports Bureau, the streak is matched by just two other teams in the NFL, NBA or NHL, the 1959-67 Celtics, who won 11 straight, and the 2002-06 Patriots, who won 10 straight.
"You never quit," Bochy said. "You don't lie down until the last out. And this club does a great job of it. They know what's at stake, and they left it all out on the field (Monday). We have to do the same thing (Tuesday). That doesn't change. That's the mental toughness part of the game that you have to have."