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MLB Notebook: Ishikawa joins LCS icons

Giants hero just the fourth player since 1969 with pennant-winning homer

Mel Ott, Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, and Barry Bonds combined to hit 2,212 home runs for the Giants in regular season contests. And while this quartet added another 16 homers in postseason play for the franchise, none of them hit a walk-off homer in a Division Series, League Championship Series or World Series; but Dusty Rhodes did.

In Game 1 of the 1954 World Series, after Mays drew a one-out walk and stole second to open up a base for an intentional walk, Rhodes came to the plate pinch-hitting for Monte Irvin, took a measurement of Bob Lemon on the mound, and electrified the 52,000-plus at the Polo Grounds with a three-run shot to right.

Sixty years later -- and with an expanse of water rather than a city skyline helping to frame the ballpark -- Travis Ishikawa added his name alongside Rhodes', and in the process gave the Giants an opportunity to collect the franchise's eighth World Series title.

National League Championship Series: Cardinals vs. Giants
With San Francisco and St. Louis tied at 3-3 in the ninth inning of Game 5, left fielder Ishikawa sent the Giants to the World Series with a three-run, series-ending homer.

Ishikawa joined Rhodes as the second Giants player to hit a walk-off homer in postseason play and the third, along with Rhodes and Kenny Lofton (Game 5 of the 2002 NLCS) to own a walk-off hit.

Ishikawa also became the fourth player in the LCS-era to produce a pennant-winning home run. The others: the Yankees' Chris Chambliss in 1976 (ALCS Game 5 with the score tied at 6-6 in the bottom of the ninth, solo shot against the Royals' Mark Littell), the Yankees' Aaron Boone in 2003 (ALCS Game 7 with the score tied at 5-5 in the bottom of the 11th, solo blast against Red Sox right-hander Tim Wakefield) and the Tigers' Magglio Ordonez in '06 (ALCS Game 4 with the score tied at 3-3 in the bottom of the ninth, connects against Oakland's Huston Street with two runners on base.)

• The Giants, in addition to becoming the fourth team since 1969 to clinch a pennant on a homer, became the 10th team overall to clinch the LCS in walk-off fashion, joining the '72 Reds (NLCS Game 5, George Foster scored on a wild pitch as the Reds defeated the Pirates, '76 Reds (NLCS Game 3, Ken Griffey delivers a single as the Reds defeat the Phillies), '78 Dodgers (NLCS Game 4, Bill Russell produces a single as the Dodgers defeat the Phillies), '92 Braves (NLCS Game 7, Francisco Cabrera delivers a two-run single as the Braves defeat the Pirates), '99 Braves (NLCS Game 6, Andruw Jones works a bases-loaded walk as the Braves defeat the Mets) and 2002 Giants on Lofton's walk-off single vs. the Cardinals. Of these nine teams to win the LCS in walk-off fashion, only one -- the 1976 Reds -- went on to win the World Series.

• The Giants have captured 21 pennants in the World Series era: 1904-05, '11-'13, '17, '21-24, '33, '36-37, '51, '54, '62, '89, 2002, '10, '12 and '14.

• One of the Giants' three homers Thursday came from Joe Panik, who gave San Francisco an early 2-1 lead with his two-run shot in the third. He has played 10 career postseason games, collecting 11 total hits and hitting safely in seven of them.

Panik is the 18th player in Giants history to hit safely in at least seven of his first 10 postseason games; he's the first Giants player to be shy of his 24th birthday (he turns 24 on Oct. 30) and hit safely in at least seven of his first 10 postseason games; and his 11 hits through his first 10 postseason games tie him for the 10th most in Giants history. Will Clark, with 16, had the most.

• In the win, third baseman Pablo Sandoval doubled and singled and extended his playoff on-base streak to 23 games in a row. The switch-hitter is now tied with Lou Gehrig and Lance Berkman for the sixth-longest streak in postseason history. Reaching safely in his next contest would tie Sandoval with Carlos Beltran and Carlos Ruiz . Miguel Cabrera, with 31 straight, holds the all-time mark.

• In a no-decision, San Francisco starter Madison Bumgarner allowed three runs in eight innings. This was his 10th career postseason start and 11th overall postseason appearance, with this Game 5 line giving him a career 2.67 ERA in 67 1/3 innings. He is one of six Giants pitchers with at least 50 postseason innings. Christy Mathewson had the most (101 2/3, with a 0.97 ERA), followed by Art Nehf (78 IP, 1.96 ERA), Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum (54 2/3 IP, 2.47 ERA) and Matt Cain (51 1/3 IP, 2.10 ERA).

• With the Giants on their way to World Series to face the Royals, the 110th Fall Classic will be just the second to feature two Wild Card teams. In 2002, the Giants lost to the Angels in seven games.

• In the eighth inning, San Francisco's Michael Morse delivered a pinch-hit, game-tying home run.

Before Morse's shot there had been only one other game-tying, pinch-hit homer in a series-clinching affair. In Game 4 of the 1978 NLCS, Philadelphia's Bake McBride hit a solo homer off the Dodgers' Rick Rhoden in the seventh inning to tie the game at 3-3. Russell then won the game in the bottom of the 10th when he singled off Philadelphia's Tug McGraw to drive in Ron Cey and send the Dodgers to the Fall Classic.

Morse's homer made him the eighth pinch-hitter to deliver a game-tying longball in the eighth inning or later. The others: Johnny Blanchard (8th inning in Game 3 of the '61 World Series), Bernie Carbo (8th inning in Game 6 of the '75 World Series), Pat Sheridan (9th inning in Game 2 of the '85 ALCS), Chili Davis (8th inning in Game 3 of the '91 World Series), Jim Leyritz (9th inning in Game 2 of the '98 NLDS), J.T. Snow (9th inning in Game 2 of the 2000 NLDS) and Raul Ibanez (9th inning in Game 3 of the '12 ALDS.)

• With this win, Bruce Bochy has four pennants on his managerial resume (1998 with the Padres; 2010, '12 and '14 with the Giants). Including 19th century managers, he is one of 23 to have at least four. The other 22 are in the Hall of Fame.

Roger Schlueter is senior researcher for MLB Productions.
Read More: San Francisco Giants, Madison Bumgarner, Michael Morse, Joe Panik, Travis Ishikawa