Giants left fielder Travis Ishikawa said he has watched the replay of his game-winning, pennant-clinching home run in Game 5 of the National League Championship Series – and he still has trouble believing it happened.
“It looks like me,” Ishikawa said before the Giants’ workout at AT&T Park on Saturday. “It just doesn’t feel like it was me.”
Ishikawa’s dramatic three-run homer off St. Louis Cardinals reliever Michael Wacha sent the Giants into the World Series for the third time in five years and had the 31-year-old – who was playing at Triple-A Fresno in midseason – being mentioned in the same breath as Bobby Thomson and his “Shot Heard ’Round the World” in terms of iconic moments in Giants walk-off history.
Ishikawa said the roughly 40 hours since the home run had been “a blur. It feels surreal.”
The ball landed in the arcade seats above the Levi’s Landing sign in right field as fans there erupted in celebration. But soon after the game it had been returned to the man who hit it. The fan who secured the ball returned it to Ishikawa and reportedly received some signed memorabilia and World Series tickets in return.
“That was just a genuine gesture,” Ishikawa said.
Despite having the replay as a refresher, Ishikawa said he still doesn’t remember much about circling the bases – or pitcher Jake Peavy trying to hug him between second and third base, thinking the ball hadn’t cleared the wall.
“I don’t remember shoving him out of the way,” Ishikawa said. “I’ve got to go find him and apologize.”
Otherwise, he said the reality has registered through the response of friends and family. A handful of Ishikawa’s past teammates took to social media after Game 5 to congratulate the veteran, who has been with five organizations in the past three seasons.
“Good things,” manager Bruce Bochy said, “happen to good people.”
Et cetera – The Giants worked out for about two hours, dedicating a chunk of that time to infield drills and pitcher-fielding practice. The Kansas City Royals, their opponent in the World Series, have developed a reputation this postseason for speed and small ball.
The teams met once this season in interleague play, with the Royals sweeping a three-game series in Kansas City on Aug. 8-10. Giants reliever Jeremy Affeldt, though, said he believes little should be inferred from that series.
“I won’t take away from the way they played,” Affeldt said. “(But) I don’t think we were playing with a ton of confidence. I feel we have a different situation going on right now. And they’re playing real confident, as well. I definitely don’t look to August as a scenario. We got beat by a lot of people in August. I think we’re all running on a different set of fumes right now.”
One area that may carry over, though: In the finale of that series, the Royals stole seven bases – though with rookie Andrew Susac behind the plate – including five against the battery of Susac and Tim Lincecum.
“Watching them for the last month or so, they’re obviously very aggressive, have a ton of speed,” catcher Buster Posey said. “I would expect them to try to use that.”
▪ While Michael Morse is a strong candidate to be the Giants’ designated hitter in Games 1 and 2, Bochy said he will hold off announcing his lineup until the Giants reach Kansas City. They were scheduled to fly Satruday.