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NLCS-clinching game turned into big night for ex-Orioles

Travis Ishikawa of the San Francisco Giants celebrates after he hits a three-run walk-off home run to beat the St. Louis Cardinals 6-3 Thursday night.
Travis Ishikawa of the San Francisco Giants celebrates after he hits a three-run walk-off home run to beat the St. Louis Cardinals 6-3 Thursday night. (Thearon W. Henderson / Getty Images)

Two former Orioles and an ex-Orioles minor leaguer figured prominently in the NLCS clinching game Thursday night.

Travis Ishikawa, who played six games with the Orioles in 2013, hit the three-run home run to give the Giants a 6-3 walk-off win in the bottom of the ninth inning. San Francisco will open the World Series at Kansas City on Tuesday night thanks to the blast.

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It might not have happened if Michael Morse, who played 12 games last season for the Orioles after being acquired from the Seattle Mariners for Xavier Avery, had not homered in the eighth inning off former Oriole farmhand Pat Neshek.

Morse, who hit just .103 in those 12 games with the O's, had wrist surgery in the offseason before signing with the Giants as a free agent. He hit .279 with 16 home runs and 61 RBIs for the Giants this season.

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Neshek resurrected his career with Oakland after being purchased from the Orioles in late 2012. Neshek made 35 appearances for Class AAA Norfolk in 2012, going 3-2 with 11 saves. He had a solid 2013 with the A's before signing with the Cardinals. He was an All-Star in 2014.

A return to San Francisco did wonders for Ishikawa, who broke into the majors in 2006 with the Giants.

After being designated for assignment by the Orioles on June 29, 2013, the Yankees selected Ishikawa off waivers on July 7. He only appeared in one game with the Yankees.

"It's definitely been one of the more hectic weeks of my life," Ishikawa told The Sun at the time. "A lot of mixed emotions, so many things coming at you at once. Obviously, the opt-out, I didn't think that I was going to be called up because Chris [Davis] is playing so good and the team is playing well. I didn't think they needed me.

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"So just the joy of getting called up and getting with these guys again after spending spring with them. I was having a lot of fun, a blast, and obviously [feel] a little let down today. I understand it's a business part of it. I don't fault them for it. ... Hopefully, later down the road we're playing against each other or something."

Ishikawa played just six games with the Orioles and batted .118/.167/.118. At Norfolk, he hit .316/.413/.525 with seven homers and 31 RBIs in 49 games.

He signed with the Giants in April. The rest is history.

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