Self-surviving Giants send Mets home three bucks short

Gillaspie, who'd just hit the slider near the ceiling over the right field fence for three and, ultimately, a date between the Giants and the Cubs . . .

Gillaspie, who’d just hit the slider near the ceiling over the right field fence for three and, ultimately, a date between the Giants and the Cubs . . .

The Mets survived everything thrown at them in 2016 and came up three bucks short. The Giants survived themselves and, at the eleventh hour, punched their ticket to Chicago for a division series showdown with the Cubs.

And until Jeurys Familia threw the wrong pitch to a no-name number eight hitter named Conor Gillaspie, who had to step in for injured Eduardo Nunez late in the season, the National League wild card game threatened to go to extra innings and maybe beyond no matter who might be the last man standing on the mound.

For these Cubs, everything’s Jake

Arrieta lifted the Cubs to the division series, so it was only fair that Rizzo give him a lift to the celebration . . .

Arrieta lifted the Cubs to the division series, so it was only fair that Rizzo give him a lift to the celebration . . .

Maybe the Pittsburgh Pirates finally figured that if you can’t beat Jake Arrieta, throw at him. Any old excuse will do. Even sending him a message about hitting two Pirates in situations where the last thing any pitcher plans is to drill someone. All it got was a bench-clearing brawl in the top of the seventh that did nothing but delay what was, by then, the just-about-inevitable.

Chipper Agonistes

The look says it all, after the double play opening throw that sailed away . . .

The greats don’t always get to choose the manner in which they leave the game. But whatever you believe about instant or at least same-day karma, Chipper Jones surely deserves better than to have his Hall of Fame-in-waiting career end like this.

His own throwing error, opening an unwanted door to the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League’s first-ever wild card game; his own Atlanta Braves victimised by a soft fly to the shallow outfield ruled an infield fly when the Braves might have loaded the late-tying runs on base.