SAN FRANCISCO -- Joe Maddon liked the matchups in the eighth inning. He wasn't planning on using Aroldis Chapman for a six-out save. But baseball games don't always turn out the way you want them to.
The Cubs led by a run heading into the bottom of the eighth against the Giants in Monday night's 6-5 loss in 13 innings, needing six outs to clinch the National League Division Series. Travis Wood started the eighth, gave up a single to Brandon Belt, and was lifted for Hector Rondon, who walked Buster Posey. Maddon then called on Chapman.
"Had [Rondon] gotten Posey out, I would have let him pitch to [Hunter] Pence right there but there was a threat for a bunt, there's all kinds of things they could have done there," Maddon said. "And I know it's hard to bunt [a 100-mph pitch]. So, let's just bring [Chapman] in right there, give him a little wiggle room. He gets a strikeout and then you feel kind of OK about things."
Chapman did strike out Pence, but Conor Gillaspie, who has had a magical postseason, hitting a three-run homer in the NL Wild Card Game off Mets closer Jeurys Familia, smacked a 102-mph fastball to right for a triple. Belt and Posey scored, and the Giants led, 4-3.
"Give Gillaspie credit, man," Maddon said. "He did it a couple days ago [in the Wild Card Game]. He got an elevated fastball [from Chapman] and hit it to the far part of the ballpark. I think it surprised a lot of people."
It was the first triple ever by a left-handed hitter off Chapman.
"Everything's possible," Chapman said. "[The pitch] was high in the zone and it went well for him."
Brandon Crawford followed with an RBI single, and Chapman then walked Joe Panik before he was pulled. He was able to retire one of the four batters he faced.
Earlier in the series, Maddon had said Chapman prefers coming in for a clean inning rather than be called on with runners on base. But the lefty said he had talked to the manager, and was ready for anything.
"I didn't have any problems with that," Chapman said about being asked to pitch the eighth. "I told [Maddon] that, whatever he needs me for I'm ready to do. It doesn't matter if it's six outs, it doesn't matter. That's the way it was. He used me in the eighth and that's what happened.
"I'm fine with it," Chapman said. "It wasn't my night. [Tuesday's] another day, and if he needs me, I'm ready to close."
The Cubs answered in the ninth as Kris Bryant tied the game with a two-run homer, but eventually lost on Panik's RBI single in the 13th.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy knew to be ready for Chapman at any time.
"I know they will use him for a couple innings," Bochy said. "I think we saw him for three innings in New York, so, no, I wasn't surprised he came in, especially with our lefties, and I didn't have a lot of moves to make."
Chapman did face the Giants July 22-23 while a member of the Yankees, and pitched a total of three innings. On Monday night, it seemed as if lefty had forgotten what happened in the eighth after his postgame shower.
"I did everything I could at that moment," he said. "The things didn't come out the way I wanted them to."
He had saves in Games 1 and 2. Could he do so Tuesday in Game 4?
"Once I get on the field [Tuesday], everything is forgotten about what happened today," he said.
Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.