SAN FRANCISCO — Travis Ishikawa hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning, sending the Giants to the World Series with a 6-3 win over the Cardinals on Thursday night.
The Giants clinched the NL Championship Series in Game 5 and face the Royals in the Fall Classic.
Pablo Sandoval singled to start the ninth against Michael Wacha, making his first appearance of the postseason for the Cardinals. After an out, Brandon Belt walked to bring up Ishikawa, who drove a 2-and-0 pitch into the elevated seats in rightfield.
Ishikawa hit the first game-ending homer in NLCS history. It was the first time a homer sent the Giants into the World Series since maybe the most famous drive ever in baseball — Bobby Thomson's "Shot Heard 'Round the World" to win the 1951 pennant.
Ishikawa knew right away on his first career postseason homer, raising his right arm into the air as he watched his ball sail into the seats. He was immediately mobbed at home plate after he rounded the bases as fireworks shot off from the centerfield scoreboard.
Giants pinch-hitter Michael Morse homered leading off the eighth against Pat Neshek, who replaced Adam Wainwright to start the inning, to tie it at 3.
Morse was batting for starter Madison Bumgarner, who was named NLCS MVP. Morse spent six weeks sidelined with a left oblique strain and had not homered since Aug. 15
Catcher Tony Cruz was in the St. Louis lineup. A.J. Pierzynski caught the previous two games in place of injured star Yadier Molina and went 1-for-6 with an RBI single Wednesday. Cruz hit a solo home run during a two-run fourth inning when St. Louis took a 3-2 lead.
Cruz was in to face the left-handed Bumgarner and to catch Wainwright's curveball.