Atlanta second baseman Brooks Conrad committed three errors that led to two Giants runs, including the go-ahead score with two outs in the top of the ninth, to hand San Francisco a 3-2 victory in Game 3 of the NL Division Series. The come-from-behind victory gave the Giants a 2-to-1 lead in the best-of-five series.
The Braves were one out away from victory before the Giants rallied for two two-out runs. With Atlanta closer Billy Wagner sidelined for the rest of the postseason by an oblique injury he suffered in Game 2, San Francisco rallied against a trio of Braves relievers in the ninth. With Atlanta holding a 2-1 lead, rookie Craig Kimbrel allowed a walk and a two-out hit to Freddy Sanchez, leading Braves manager Bobby Cox to summon left-hander Mike Dunn to face Giants left-handed slugger Aubrey Huff.
Huff lined a hanging slider to right to tie the game. Then, reliever Pete Moylan came in to face Buster Posey. Moylan did his job, eliciting a routine grounder to second, but the ball went under Conrad's glove and through his legs for an unearned run that proved decisive. Conrad had earlier dropped a pop-up to allow the first Giants run to score.
The error on the second baseman was the first in postseason history that resulted in a go-ahead run in the ninth inning. There have been six instances of a go-ahead error in extra innings, most recently last year, when the Yankees beat the Angels in Game 2 of the ALCS on a Maicer Izturis error.
Conrad's gaffe deprived the Braves of what would have been a stunning comeback of their own. After San Francisco took their 1-0 advantage in the first, Giants starter Jonathan Sanchez appeared set to navigate the one-run lead to victory. He did not allow a hit until the sixth inning, on a day when his overpowering stuff led to 11 strikeouts.
But Sanchez was lifted after allowing a leadoff single in the bottom of the eighth, and he was lifted in favor of reliever Sergio Romo after allowing just two hits in 7 1/3 innings. Eric Hinske, who has been in the World Series each of the last three years (2007 with Boston, 2008 with Tampa Bay, 2009 with New York), lined a 2-2 slider from Romo just over the fence down the right-field line for a two-run blast that gave Atlanta a 2-1 lead. In the process, Hinske became the third pinch-hitter in postseason history to hit a homer that vaulted a trailing team to a lead, joining Ed Sprague of the Blue Jays (1992) and Kirk Gibson of the Dodgers (1988).
But the shortcomings of the Atlanta bullpen and Conrad's defense prevented that lead from standing up. And so, after Giants closer Brian Wilson pitched a scoreless ninth for the save, the Braves moved to within one game of elimination.
For more, click here .