SAN FRANCISCO -- Had Conor Gillaspie not later recast himself in the role of hero, belting a two-run triple off unhittable Cubs closer Aroldis Chapman, a moment in Monday night's sixth inning at AT&T Park would have stuck with the Giants throughout the offseason.
With the Cubs up by a run in the sixth inning and the Giants searching for offense and facing elimination from the postseason, a controversial replay result at first base went against San Francisco. It wound up being a moot point, followed by about a dozen other twists and turns in a 6-5 Giants win that extended the National League Division Series to Game 4 on Tuesday night, live on FS1 at 8:30 ET/5:30 CT. But it could have been a turning point in the Giants' must-win Game 3.
Leading off the sixth against Jake Arrieta, Gillaspie swung at the first pitch, a 91-mph slider, and grounded it up the middle. Sure-handed second baseman Javier Baez slid into the ball's path and made a backhanded stop, scooping up the ball and bouncing to his feet.
Baez threw across his body -- a throw so tricky it knocked him off balance and onto his backside -- to first baseman Anthony Rizzo. Reaching out his gloved right hand, Rizzo picked the one-hopper and Gillaspie was called out by first-base umpire Marvin Hudson.
The Giants challenged the call, and video replays that showed throughout the stadium during the official review appeared to show that Rizzo's left foot slipped off the bag just before he made the catch.
As the process unfolded at the Replay Command Center in New York, the crowd of 43,571 watched the play time and again on the AT&T Park scoreboard. Near the end of the two-minute review, fans -- emboldened by what they believed to be convincing evidence -- began a "Safe! Safe! Safe!" chant.
"I don't know. It sure looked like it," Gillaspie said. "Maybe they had a different angle."
Seconds later, crew chief John Hirschbeck took off his headset and pumped his arm. The out call would stand, as the replay official could not find conclusive evidence to overturn the call on the field.
Fortunately for the Giants, they won't have to wonder what might have been, as Gillaspie's eighth-inning triple -- along with eight innings of strong bullpen work followed by Joe Panik's walk-off double in the 13th -- guaranteed San Francisco's fans would see the series go to Game 4.
Adam Berry has covered baseball for MLB.com since 2011. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.