Giants' secret weapon was something the Dodgers couldn't prepare for in NLDS Game 3

LOS ANGELES — Major League Baseball guidelines particularly mention that all foreign compounds are forbidden in video games, regardless if it’s a blistering day at Busch Stadium in June or a postseason video game at Dodger Stadium in October.

The guidelines are clear: No Pine Tar. No Spider Tack. No Gorilla Glue. No Sandpaper.

But, oh, those resourceful San Francisco Giants, trying to find any possible edge they might get to reduce the magnificent Los Angeles Dodgers, let their innovative minds work their magic Monday night, and loaded a trump card on this NL Division Series journey.

They brought their own weather condition to Los Angeles: cold, raw, and, wind. Lots, and great deals of wind.

We’re talking old Candlestick Park wind.

WINDY NIGHT: Did the strong winds trigger Max Scherzer to stumble off the mound at Dodger Stadium?

STILL IN THE DANCE: After blowing five-run lead, Red Sox stroll off Rays in Game 4 to advance to ALCS

San Francisco Giants relief pitcher Camilo Doval (75) commemorates after beating the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 3 of the NLDS.

When the night was over Monday, and the Giants boarded their group bus to their Pasadena, California, hotel, they couldn’t stop smirking enjoying garbage scattered throughout the parking area.

The great ol’ San Francisco wind was their 10th guy on the field at Dodger Stadium in a 1-0 success that leaves the protecting World Series champs on the edge of removal.

It was the very first time the Giants won a postseason video game 1-0 on a solo homer considering that Game 3 of the 1923 World Series when Casey Stengel homered off Yankees pitcher Sad Sam Jones.

The Giants now lead the best-of-five NLDS 2-1, understanding that at worst, a choosing Game 5 will be at Oracle Park in San Francisco, with their ace, Logan Webb, on the mound.

Let the wind blow, child, let it blow.

“The wind was absolutely quite insane tonight,” Giants All-Star shortstop Brandon Crawford said. “I mean, it was a factor in the game, for sure. …

“I mean, I hardly even remember light breeze here most nights.”

On this night, the wind was continuously blowing throughout the video game at 15- to 20-mph, with gusts at 40-mph, turning well struck balls into balls that don’t reach the caution track.

The Dodgers believed they had a crowning achievement in the 6th inning by Chris Taylor. Maybe another by Trea Turner in the 6th. And, definitely, a game-tying, two-out homer by Gavin Lux in the ninth, just to carefully fall under center fielder Steve Duggar’s glove.

“I believed it was hammered,” Giants manager Gabe Kapler said. “There were several balls knocked down by the wind tonight. Lux’s ball was hit pretty good.”

Did Dodgers supervisor Dave Roberts believe it was heading out, too?

“Yeah,” he said. “I did.”

So did the 53,299 in presence at Dodger Stadium and the 9 Giants gamers basing on the field

“My stomach basically sank when he struck it,” Giants third baseman Evan Longoria said. “I couldn’t believe that it didn’t.

“But I guess it was our night.”

There were just 8 hits in the video game — none by the Giants after the 5th inning — however the just one that left any damage was Longoria’s crowning achievement in the 5th inning. When he stepped to the plate, his kids remained in the stands, with among them shouting, “Let’s go Daddy!”

With a family friend on the phone videotaping the moment for posterity, they watched Dodgers ace Max Scherzer’s 96-mph fastball leave the bat of Longoria at 110 mph, traveling 407 feet into the left-field seats.

“I mean, I knew I got every bit of it as far as how hard I could hit a baseball,” Longoria stated. “But I wasn’t rather sure that it was going to head out. I indicate, the conditions tonight were insane. I was believing if that ball didn’t head out this evening, I may have simply cashed it in.”

Scherzer gave up just three hits, struck out 10 and induced 21 swings-and-misses. But for the first time in 13 starts since joining the Dodgers on July 30, the Dodgers lost.

“You get to the postseason, you can always lose by one pitch,” Scherzer stated. “That comes into play. Tonight, I lost it on one pitch.’’

Then again, he completely lost his balance on one pitch too, stumbling off the mound on the second one of the game, with the wind blowing him off the mound.

It was shades of Stu Miller in the 1961 All-Star Game at Candlestick Park when the Giants pitcher was blown off the mound and called for a balk.

“I don’t think I stepped out of the box as many times in my career as I have mid-at-bat tonight,” Longoria stated. “A couple times I seemed like I was going to get blown over by the wind, a great deal of dust in the eyes. It was absolutely a bit harder environment to strike in and play in tonight.”

Sure, the weather was the same for both sides. But if you ask the Dodgers, and, well, the Giants, too, it was clear who benefited the most by the bizarre conditions at Chavez Ravine.

“It was huge,” Roberts stated. “I believe any other night, the CT [Chris Taylor] ball, the Gavin Lux ball, would have been crowning achievements. …It would have been a various result. But those are the components that both groups needed to have fun with. And that’s baseball.”

The Dodgers not only watched potential homers die in the night, but a screaming line drive, 100-mph off the bat of Mookie Betts in the seventh inning. It should have been a run-scoring single. Instead, Crawford leaped high into the air, and pulled it down, sucking the air out of the ballpark.

“There’s not a whole lot of time for anything really to go through my head,” Crawford stated. “Just capture the ball. That’s all I’m thinking. I believe it had a bit of leading spin on it, luckily. It was right over my head, so I had the ability to simply leap and hope that it enters my glove.”

The Dodgers didn’t have another baserunner the rest of the night with rookie closer Camilo Doval pitching the final two hitless innings.

“Hey, it happens,” stated Albert Pujols, who produced 2 of the Dodgers’ 3 hits off Giants starter Alex Wood. “That’s something that you cannot manage. It’s part of the video game. You can’t believe it was cold. You can’t believe the wind. Hey, it is what it is. You can’t blame it on the wind due to the fact that we lost the video game tonight, it’s Mother Nature, you need to appreciate that.”

The Dodgers, who won 106 games during the regular season, must now regroup. They are undecided who they’ll start in Game 4, but Walker Buehler is the favorite on short rest, with a mix and match in the bullpen, and Julio Urias available if there’s a Game 5. The Giants will go with Anthony DeSclafani.

Considering these two teams have never played in a true postseason in the 131-year history of their rivalry, can you imagine the Giants’ thrill of celebrating and spraying champagne on the Dodger Stadium infield?

“We definitely know that they’re not going to roll over,” Longoria stated. “They have actually been down in the past and determined methods to come back. And they have actually absolutely got the gamers to do it.

“So, ideally, as a group, we come out, get on leading, and silence this crowd here a bit.’’

A silence that might last all the method till spring training.

Follow Nightengale on Twitter: @Bnightengale

This short article initially appeared on U.S.A. TODAY: Giants pack ace in the hole, wind, to press Dodgers near removal



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