SAN FRANCISCO — Jake Arrieta had so boldly proclaimed October ace Madison Bumgarner could be beaten, and the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner nearly made it happen with his bat and that big right arm.
Arrieta hit a three-run homer in the second inning that held up for most of the night, but the game was decided by the bullpens hours later, and the Chicago Cubs will have to wait another day to try to earn their spot in the NL Championship Series.
Joe Panik doubled off the wall in right-center field to drive in Brandon Crawford with the winning run in the 13th inning, and the Giants staved off elimination again by outlasting the Cubs 6-5 on Monday in Game 3 of their NL Division Series.
The wild-card Giants forced Tuesday night’s Game 4 back at their raucous, sold-out ballpark, postponing a potential Cubs clinch party. Chicago leads the best-of-five playoff 2-1 and will send John Lackey to the mound opposite lefty Matt Moore.
“We played it hard, we played it right — and they beat us,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said.
Panik came through on the 57th pitch from Mike Montgomery, who was working his fifth inning of relief. Brandon Crawford hit a leadoff double on an 0-2 curveball.
“It’s definitely disappointing the way it ended, but I think we’ll come back tomorrow ready to go,” Montgomery said.
San Francisco won its 10th straight game when facing postseason elimination. The Giants are trying to extend their pattern of even-year championships after winning the World Series in 2010, ’12 and ’14.
Panik’s big hit ended a 5-hour, 4-minute game that was only 29 minutes shy of the total time it took to play the first two series games combined last week at Wrigley Field.
“We just have to have a short memory, forget about it. It’s over, just go out there tomorrow and get the victory,” Cubs catcher Miguel Montero said. “It’s not easy. It’s a tough pill to swallow.”
Rookie left-hander Ty Blach was the winner, escaping a 13th-inning jam when pinch-hitter David Ross bounced into a double play.
Kris Bryant hit a tying, two-run homer off Giants closer Sergio Romo in the ninth after San Francisco rallied for three runs to take the lead in the eighth against Aroldis Chapman.
Bryant’s drive hit the top of the left-field fence and bounced into the seats, silencing the orange towel-swirling sellout crowd. The slugger received a warm hug of congratulations in the dugout from Chapman, who had just given up the lead.
With Bumgarner’s remarkable postseason scoreless streak at 24 innings, Arrieta drove a 1-2 pitch into the left-field bleachers in the second inning — and, as a bonus, a man in a blue Cubs cap caught it and jumped for joy at his good fortune.
Arrieta’s mouth hung wide open as he rounded the bases, pumping his pitching arm.
It was Arrieta’s fifth career home run, and the first Bumgarner had given up to a pitcher in his seven-year big league career.
Maddon turned to Chapman with the potential tying and go-ahead runs aboard in the eighth, putting him in position for his second career six-out save. He struck out Hunter Pence with five consecutive pitches clocked at 101 or 102 mph.
That brought up Conor Gillaspie, who grounded out his first three trips to the plate. He fouled off the first offering before driving the ball into deep right-center for a triple that easily scored Brandon Belt and Buster Posey.
Gillaspie came through just as he did with that three-run homer in the ninth inning of the wild-card game to beat the Mets last Wednesday in New York.
“Give Gillaspie credit,” Maddon said. “He did it a couple days ago. He got an elevated fastball and hit it to the far part of the ballpark. I think it surprised a lot of people.”
It was the 10th extra-base hit Chapman has allowed to a left-handed batter in his career — and the first triple.
The only Giants player with strong numbers against Arrieta was a late scratch.
Left fielder Angel Pagan got pulled from the lineup about an hour before the first pitch because of back spasms.
Pagan had a .455 average (5 for 11) against Arrieta with a double and two strikeouts. Gregor Blanco replaced him.
Lackey will try to pitch the Cubs into their second straight NLCS, while Moore looks to build on his success down the stretch after the Giants acquired him at the Aug. 1 trade deadline from Tampa Bay.