2014 National League Division Series 1
|2014 National League Division Series|
|San Francisco Giants
88 - 74 in the NL
|3 - 1
96 - 66 in the NL
|1||San Francisco Giants 3 Washington Nationals 2||October 3||Jake Peavy (1-0) Stephen Strasburg (0-1)||3:07 pm|
|2||San Francisco Giants 2 Washington Nationals 1||October 4||Tim Hudson (0-0) Jordan Zimmermann (0-0)||5:37 pm|
|3||Washington Nationals 4 San Francisco Giants 1||October 6||Doug Fister (1-0) Madison Bumgarner (0-1)||5:07 pm|
|4||Washington Nationals 2 San Francisco Giants 3||October 7||Gio Gonzalez (0-0) Ryan Vogelsong (0-0)||9:07 pm|
Game 1 @ Nationals Park
|WP: Jake Peavy (1-0), LP: Stephen Strasburg (0-1), SV: Santiago Casilla (1)|
|Home Runs: WAS - Bryce Harper (1), Asdrubal Cabrera (1)|
- Attendance: 44,035
When the Washington Nationals first reached the postseason under their current identity in 2012, they did so without ace pitcher Stephen Strasburg, having shut him down in early September to limit his innings. His absence cost the Nats dearly, as they were upset in the NLDS in large part because they lacked one more reliable starter. This year, however, Strasburg was available and ready to make his postseason debut in Game 1 against the Giants, who for their part had tabbed mid-season acquisition Jake Peavy to start. He had been acquired to give a hand in the postseason, but ironically, was coming into the game with a record of 0-3, 9.27 in five postseason starts. Both teams started their regular line-ups, with Washington opting not to try to force Ryan Zimmerman, who had missed most of the season with various injuries, into the starting nine.
San Francisco opened the score in the top of the 3rd when LF Travis Ishikawa led off with a single to center field. Peavy was next up and laid down a bunt towards first base, on which 1B Adam LaRoche got greedy and attempted to cut down Ishikawa at second. The play was close enough to require a video review, but Ishikawa was safe, putting the Nats in hot water. CF Gregor Blanco lined out for the first out, but with 2B Joe Panik at bat, Washington C Wilson Ramos allowed a passed ball, advancing both runners and allowing Ishikawa to score easily when Panik singled to center. They added a second run in the 4th. 3B Pablo Sandoval again led off with a single, but he was forced at second by RF Hunter Pence. However, Pence stole second base to put himself into scoring position and crossed the plate on 1B Brandon Belt's single. They then stranded a couple more runners in the 5th and started off the 6th with back-to-back singles by Belt and SS Brandon Crawford, prompting Nats manager Matt Williams to replace Strasburg with Jerry Blevins, who retired the next three batters. The score was still 2-0 in San Francisco's favor.
The Nationals had not done much on offense thus far, but put together a threat in the bottom of the 6th. Nate Schierholtz, pinch-hitting for Blevins, led off the inning with a double, but Peavy retired the next two batters on shallow fly balls, Schierholtz staying put at second base. After Peavy walked RF Jayson Werth, however, Giants manager Bruce Bochy called on lefty Javier Lopez to face the lefthanded-hitting LaRoche, but the side-arming reliever walked the bases loaded. Bochy did not want to call on one of his top relievers at such an early point of the game, so he gambled by having rookie Hunter Strickland, who had spent most of the season with the AA Richmond Flying Squirrels, to face SS Ian Desmond. Strickland just used his fastball, striking out Desmond on consecutive pitches of 98, 99 and 100 mph. To make things worse for Washington, 2B Joe Panik then greeted reliever Craig Stammen with a triple to lead off the 7th and immediately scored a third run on an infield single by C Buster Posey.
Heading into the bottom of the 7th, the Nationals were thus trailing 3-0, although they were facing an inexperienced rookie on the mound. They got to him that inning as LF Bryce Harper opened the frame with a homer to the upper deck in right field and after one out, 2B Asdrubal Cabrera homered as well. With Stammen due up, Williams asked the veteran Zimmerman, the Nats' all-time best player, to come in as a pinch-hitter, but Strickland got him to fly out to center, then gave way to lefty Jeremy Affeldt as the line-up turned over. Affeldt got CF Denard Span, the National League hit leader, to ground out, but Washington had closed the gap to 3-2. The Giants wasted a chance to add another run when Crawford was tagged out at third with one out in the 8th, ill-advisedly trying to advance on a comebacker fielded by P Matt Thornton. The Nats then put two men on with one out against Sergio Romo in the bottom of the inning, but could not advance them any farther. Santiago Casilla, who had displaced Romo as the Giants' closer during the season, came on to pitch the 9th and got the Nats out in order, with pinch-hitter Danny Espinosa making the last out. San Francisco had won its 9th straight postseason game, dating back to their successful run to the 2012 World Series title, tying a National League record.
Game 2 @ Nationals Park
|WP: Yusmeiro Petit (1-0), LP: Tanner Roark (0-1), SV: Hunter Strickland (1)|
|Home Runs: SF - Brandon Belt (1)|
- Attendance: 44,035
Game 2 was the second game in postseason history to go 18 innings, following Game 4 of the 2004 NLDS, but it shattered the record for duration by a large margin, taking 6 hours and 23 minutes to complete (the previous record was 5:51). In the end, the Giants came out on top, 2-1, thanks to a home run by 1B Brandon Belt off Tanner Roark in the top of the 18th as 17 pitchers saw action on the night.
When the game started, Jordan Zimmermann, coming off pitching a no-hitter in his last start of the season, was on the mound for Washington, while Tim Hudson was the Giants' starter, as he had been in the other 18-inning game back when he was with the 2004 Atlanta Braves, although no one would make that connection until hours later. Zimmermann was almost as good as in his historic game a week earlier, as he gave up no runs on three hits and no walks through the first eight innings and came within one out of pitching a shutout. But the Giants managed to get out of the submission hold and force extra innings.
The Nationals took an early lead in the 3rd, when 2B Asdrubal Cabrera hit a lead-off double against Hudson, then after one out, moved to third on CF Denard Span's ground out; 3B Anthony Rendon, who would have four hits for the Nationals during the game, then singled to left to put Washington ahead, 1-0. However, while Hudson gave up a few hits, he did not give up any more runs during an outstanding start of his own, pitching into the 8th inning. He gave way to Jean Machi after allowing a one-out single to Rendon in the 8th. Machi got RF Jayson Werth to fly out, then Giants manager Bruce Bochy called on Javier Lopez to face 1B Adam LaRoche. Rendon stole second, but LaRoche struck out, with Washington still holding to its 1-0 lead.
Zimmermann was cruising at that point, having retired the last 18 batters he had faced since LF Travis Ishikawa had led off the 3rd with a single but been stranded. He lengthened that string of consecutive outs to 20 when he started the 9th by striking out pinch-hitter Matt Duffy and getting CF Gregor Blanco to fly out to center. Next up was rookie 2B Joe Panik, who drew a walk. Zimmermann had thrown an even 100 pitches at that point, so he could have tried to obtain the final out, but his manager, Matt Williams had had his well-rested closer Drew Storen warming up just in case, and decided to call him into the game. C Buster Posey greeted him with a single, moving Panik to second. 3B Pablo Sandoval then lined a pitch to left field; Panik scored, but Posey was tagged out at home, on a play that required a video review. The game was now tied.
A second game began at that point, a span of 8 innings in which a string of relievers would keep batters from scoring. The Nationals would use 7 pitchers over that stretch, with only Craig Stammen, who went three innings, pitching more than one inning. The Giants began the same way, with one pitcher in the 10th and another in the 11th, but they then let their secret weapon, Yusmeiro Petit, take over in the 13th and continue pitching scoreless ball for six innings, until they had taken the lead. In the 10th, Cabrera struck out against Jeremy Affeldt and was ejected by home plate umpire Vic Carapazza for arguing the call, slamming his helmet to the ground. Nats skipper Williams also came out to argue; he was thumbed as well. Both teams managed to place runners on base at various points, but no one could cross the plate until Belt led off the top of the 18th with a homer off Roark, who was starting his second inning of work. Petit was lifted for a pinch-hitter two batters later, so it was young Hunter Strickland who was called upon to save the game in the bottom of the 18th. He struck out Danny Espinosa, who had replaced Cabrera in the line-up and got Span to ground out. Rendon, the Nats' main offensive threat all night, drew a walk, but Werth lined out to right to end the marathon game.
The Giants now had a two games to none lead heading home. For the Nats, it was time to second-guess Williams' decision to take Zimmermann out of the game, and to wonder how its three most dangerous sluggers - Werth, LaRoche and Bryce Harper - could go a collective 1 for 22. Because the 2004 18-inning game had ended on a walk-off homer, this game was actually the first in postseason history to go the full innings. Luckily, there was a scheduled day off the next day for the two teams to recover.
Game 3 @ AT&T Park
|WP: Doug Fister (1-0), LP: Madison Bumgarner (0-1)|
|Home Runs: WAS - Bryce Harper (2)|
- Attendance: 43,627
The Nationals headed to San Francisco on the verge of elimination, but they managed to avoid a speedy exit by coming out on top of another pitcher's duel. Both teams were starting postseason veterans, with Madison Bumgarner, twice a World Series champion and the winner of the Wild Card Game for the Giants, and Doug Fister, who had faced the Giants in the 2012 World Series while a member of the Detroit Tigers, for the Nationals. Both pitchers lived up to their billing over the early going, as neither gave up a run in the first six innings. The best chances came in the bottom of the 2nd for the Giants, when Bumgarner struck out with the bases loaded to end the inning, and in the 3rd for the Nats, when they put a couple of men on base after two outs but were unable to cash them in.
The game was decided in the top of the 7th. SS Ian Desmond led off with a single and LF Bryce Harper drew a walk. C Wilson Ramos was asked to lay down a sacrifice bunt, a strategy he had not executed in three years. He let a couple of strikes past him before being able to lay a ball down towards the first base side of the mound. Bumgarner fielded it, and tried to throw out Desmond at third base, but his relay was wide of the mark, landing in the outfield and allowing both Desmond and Harper to score while Ramos advanced to second. 2B Asdrubal Cabrera was next up, and he singled to left, allowing Ramos to score while moving to second on the throw. The Nationals could have blown the game wide open at that point, but while trying to bunt, Fister lined out to third base, then CF Denard Span popped up and 3B Anthony Rendon grounded out to end the inning. Still, the Nationals had a 3-0 lead.
1B Brandon Belt led off the bottom of the 7th with a single for the Giants, but was unable to score as Matt Duffy, pinch-hitting for Bumgarner, made the final out. Jean Machi retired Washington in order in the 8th, and Tyler Clippard, taking over for Fister, did the same to the Giants. The Nationals added an insurance run in the top of the 9th when Harper led off with his second homer of the series. Drew Storen, who had blown a save chance in Game 2, came in to close the game. Storen was again shaky, allowing a lead-off single to 3B Pablo Sandoval followed by a double by RF Hunter Pence. After Belt struck out for the first out, SS Brandon Crawford hit a fly ball to RF Jayson Werth, which allowed Sandoval to score a run. However, the Giants were still down by three, with two outs and only one runner on. LF Travis Ishikawa then ended the game with a ground ball to short. The Giants' National League record ten-game postseason winning streak was over.
Game 4 @ AT&T Park
|WP: Hunter Strickland (1-0), LP: Matt Thornton (0-1), SV: Santiago Casilla (2)|
|Home Runs: WAS - Bryce Harper (3)|
- Attendance: 43,464
Game 4 was another low-scoring affair decided in favor of the Giants, who completed their upset of the Nationals with a 3-2 win. Once again, the Nationals' inability to solve the Giants' pitching proved their downfall: Ryan Vogelsong continued along the lines established by his three predecessors on the mound, keeping the Nationals from putting together a big inning, and the game was again decided after the starters were gone. The only change to the starting line-ups was Juan Perez starting in left field for San Francisco, in place of Travis Ishikawa.
The Giants put some early pressure on Washington by scoring twice in the 2nd inning, forcing the Nationals to play come-from-behind. SS Brandon Crawford started things off with a one-out single against starter Gio Gonzalez, then Perez hit a comebacker to the mound that hit off Gonzalez's glove for an error. Vogelsong laid down a bunt, and it was so good that it landed for a single between Gonzalez and 3B Anthony Rendon, loading the bases with one out. Gonzalez then walked CF Gregor Blanco,to force in a first run, then 2B Joe Panik grounded out to first, allowing Perez to score the second run. The Giants had 2-0 lead while barely hitting the ball out of the infield. Both runs were unearned, but with the Nats trailing, manager Matt Williams decided to remove Gonzalez in favor of a pinch-hitter after only four innings. That came in the 5th, when the Nationals cut the lead in half. SS Ian Desmond led off the inning with a single and LF Bryce Harper followed with a double which scored Desmond. However, neither C Wilson Ramos nor 2B Asdrubal Cabrera could advance Harper to third while making outs, and Williams called on pinch-hitter Nate Schierholtz to attempt to drive in the tying run; he drew a walk, but CF Denard Span grounded out to first to end the inning.
The Giants loaded the bases against reliever Tanner Roark in the bottom of the 5th, forcing Williams to call on lefty Jerry Blevins to face 1B Brandon Belt, who had homered off Roark in the 18th inning of Game 2, and he struck out the "Baby Giraffe" to end the threat. Vogelsong left with a 2-1 lead after 6 innings, but in the bottom of the 7th, Harper once again victimized young reliever Hunter Strickland, as he had done in Game 1, homering to right field with one out to tie the score. Ramos followed with a single, but Strickland retired the next two batters, including Ryan Zimmerman who pinch-hit for Blevins. Matt Thornton was the next pitcher for Washington. Blanco attempted unsuccessfully to bunt for a base hit, but Panik and C Buster Posey followed with back-to-back singles. Rookie Aaron Barrett replaced Thornton, but he walked RF Hunter Pence to load the bases. With 3B Pablo Sandoval at bat, Barrett then threw a wild pitch, and once again the Giants scored a run without having to hit the ball out of the infield. In attempting to issue an intentional walk to Sandoval, Barrett threw another ball away, but this time Ramos was tagged out at home on Posey's relay to Barrett, a play that necessitated a video review. Barrett completed the walk to Sandoval, and Williams brought in another pitcher, Rafael Soriano, who got Belt to line out to left to end the inning.
The Nationals had six outs left to re-tie the game, but were unable to do so. In the 8th, Sergio Romo retired them in order, and in the 9th, Santiago Casilla came in to close. He issued a two-out walk to Harper, the Nationals' best player all series, but got Ramos to ground out to second base for the final out. The Giants were returning to the NLCS for the third time in five years.
|Major League Baseball National League Division Series