ST. LOUIS — By nature, San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy and his players don’t hunt excuses when adversity strikes. They play the hand they’re dealt, more often than not finding a way to succeed even without key players.

Case in point: Travis Ishikawa. The converted first baseman, who won the left-field job in early September when starter Michael Morse suffered a left oblique injury, impacted Saturday night’s 3-0 NLCS Game 1 win over St. Louis on offense and defense.

Ishikawa opened the scoring in the second with a bloop single to left, then added another hit in the fourth. To end the bottom of the fourth, he dove head-first to deny Yadier Molina a two-out single that would have pushed the potential tying run to the plate.

“We felt like we needed a little bit more offense and he was our best option,” Bochy said of Ishikawa. “We worked him pretty hard in the outfield before we put him there, and once he went out there, he started taking great routes.”

Bochy joked that Ishikawa would probably talk with him about being removed for defensive purposes before the bottom of the sixth by the speedier Juan Perez. But the veteran skipper and Ishikawa’s teammates appreciate his work to become a passable defender.

“I seen he had a new pair of cleats on,” winning pitcher Madison Bumgarner said. “He had the Mike Trout cleats, so he decided he was going to play like Mike Trout out there, I guess.”

Bumgarner was outstanding Saturday night. He allowed just four singles over 7 2/3 innings with a walk and seven strikeouts. He’s allowed just three runs over 23 2/3 innings in three postseason starts.

“He’s so good, you know, at what he does,” manager Bruce Bochy said of Bumgarner. “He’s a guy that you want out there to start things and he gave us all we were asking.”

Bumgarner set a major league record for most consecutive scoreless postseason road innings with 26 2/3.

“I just found out about the record. That’s pretty cool, but they have stats for everything these days,” Bumgarner said.

Jake Peavy, who got the NLDS off to a flying start for San Francisco, got the call in Game 2 of the NLCS. Peavy worked 5 2/3 scoreless innings on Oct. 3 at Washington, earning a 3-2 win. That was his first postseason win in six outings, in which he’s been battered around for a 7.39 earned-run average.

Peavy had a no-decision in Game 3 of last year’s World Series, when he pitched for Boston against St. Louis.

Michael Morse (left oblique) was activated for the NLCS, although he didn’t start Game 1. Morse’s addition automatically strengthens a Giants bench that was woefully weak in the NLDS, giving it a power bat. The former minor league shortstop finished with 16 homers and 61 RBIs, although he managed only three homers and 20 RBIs after June 5.

Pablo Sandoval collected three hits and a walk in five plate appearances, doubling to start a two-run second inning on Saturday. Sandoval has 10 multi-hit playoff games, the most in the franchise’s existence in San Francisco, and has three three-hit playoff games in his career. His double was the eighth in his postseason career, a franchise record.

Travis Ishikawa singled twice, knocking home the game’s first run in the second with a blooper over third, and made a nice sliding catch to deny Yadier Molina a single in the fourth. It was his first multi-hit game in the postseason.

Ishikawa, who started the year as Pittsburgh’s first baseman, was just 4-of-23 in 15 postseason games prior to Saturday night.

Gary Brown was reassigned to the minor leagues. He had three hits in seven at-bats during the regular season and was 0-for-1 in the National League Division Series.

Pete Warner

Pete graduated from Bangor High School in 1980 and earned a B.S. in Journalism (Advertising) from the University of Maine in 1986. He grew up fishing at his family's camp on Sebago Lake but didn't take...