SAN FRANCISCO -- Down by a run with two outs in the bottom of the sixth and a runner at third base, the Giants had their man at the plate.
This was the type of situation Pablo Sandoval has excelled in so many times before in the postseason. His success in these situations has a lot to do with the Giants winning World Series titles in 2010 and '12, and another National League pennant this season.
So despite the opposition being fire-baller Kelvin Herrera, part of the Royals' three-headed, late-inning bullpen monster, optimism was understandable. Only this time, Sandoval didn't come through. He rolled over a 100-mph fastball on an 0-2 count and grounded out to first baseman Eric Hosmer to end the Giants' last serious threat in the team's 3-2 Game 3 loss on Friday night at AT&T Park.
"I just tried to do my job there, to get a base hit," Sandoval said. "It's part of the game. You're not going to get a hit every time."
It's just seemed like that with Sandoval in October.
Sandoval entered Friday night's Game 3 a career .333 postseason hitter, with six home runs, 18 RBIs and 12 doubles in 34 games. He finished his night 0-for-4 with a groundout in the ninth inning, which snapped his string of reaching safely in 25 consecutive postseason games dating back to Game 4 of the 2012 NLDS. The streak had been the longest active mark in the Majors and it set a Giants record.
The only players with longer postseason on-base streaks are Miguel Cabrera (31) and Chase Utley (27), while Sandoval's streak left him tied with Boog Powell.
"Nothing. It means nothing for me," Sandoval said when asked about the streak's end. "I'd rather win; I love to win. Streaks don't mean nothing."
Sandoval still worked his way into the Game 3 highlight reel as he barehanded a weird hop and fired across the infield to retire Hosmer in the ninth. But the streak is no more, and it's no coincidence the Giants lost the game in which it ended.
"I don't know if there's a better bullpen, because that seventh, eighth and ninth inning, and you get a tough go when you're facing those guys," manager Bruce Bochy said. "They made pitches when they had to. Sandoval and Buster [Posey] both are great hitters. When you're facing this type of staff, you're hoping to put a little pressure on them, and hopefully the heart of your order comes up with men on base.
"We had the tying run there on third [in the sixth inning] with Sandoval up, and Buster, he put the ball in play and he got another run in. That's a productive out. That's what you want. But, again, you've got to give credit to their pitching. They did a great job tonight."
Ryan Hood is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ryanhood19. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.