NLDS Game 1 Top 5:
5. Quick Recap: With a runner on first with no one out in the third, a late throw to second by Washington Nationals' first baseman Adam LaRoche on a sac bunt attempt by San Francisco Giants' starter Jake Peavy put two runners on with no one out in the first game of the NLDS in Washington, D.C. One unproductive out later, a passed ball on a fastball from Stephen Strasburg that Wilson Ramos just missed put both runners in scoring position and a single to center by Giants' second baseman Joe Panik gave the visiting team a 1-0 lead.
Hunter Pence hustled down to first to beat out a potential double play grounder, then stole second with one out in the top of the fourth before scoring ahead of a throw in from Jayson Werth in right on a Brandon Belt single that made it 2-0 Giants.
Denard Span tracked Giants' second baseman Joe Panik's fly to left-center in the seventh, but came up empty on a leaping attempt at the wall on what ended up a triple. Buster Posey stepped in next and sent a grounder back to the mound and off Craig Stammen's glove for an RBI single that made it 3-0 San Francisco.
Bryce Harper got the Nationals on the board in the seventh, hitting a solo home run to deep right field on a 97 mph 2-1 fastball from Giants' right-hander Hunter Strickland. Asdrubal Carbera hit the second home run of the inning out to right one out later on a 97 mph 1-2 heater from Strickland. 3-2 Giants.
That's as close as the Nationals would get, 3-2 Giants to take Game 1 of the NLDS.
4. Strasburg vs the Giants: Stephen Strasburg dropped three straight decisions to start the second half of his fifth major league campaign, but ended up figuring things out on the mound over the last three months of the season.
In 14 second-half starts, the 26-year-old, 2009 no.1 overall pick was (7-5), with the Nationals 8-6 in his outings, over which he put up a 2.70 ERA and a 3.25 FIP with 17 walks (1.70 BB/9) and 93 Ks (9.30 K/9) in 90 IP in which he held opposing hitters to a .222/.262/.381 line.
Asked to pinpoint one thing in particular that led to his success in the second-half, Strasburg said he wasn't sure.
"I don't know," the soft-spoken starter told reporters. "I mean, I just feel like I've gotten stronger as the season went on. I think it's just a statement to the program that I had, working with [Strength and Conditioning] Coach [John] Philbin and a working with [Pitching Coach] Steve McCatty in-between, and just trying to keep improving, keep things moving in the right direction."
Strasburg closed the season out by going (3-1) in five September starts with a 1.13 ERA, 1.91 FIP, three walks (0.84 BB/9) and 32 Ks (9.00 K/9) in his last 32 IP, holding opposing hitters to a paltry .189/.223/.287 line over that stretch which Nats' skipper Matt Williams said went a long way in determining which pitcher would get the ball in Game 1 of the NLDS.
"I think he pitches well here," Williams said, and Strasburg did put up a 2.56 ERA in 116 IP in Nationals Park this season, with a .229/.267/.352 line against in 18 starts in D.C.
"He certainly has earned the opportunity to go out there and pitch. Every game is important, of course, so Game 1 is important, but so is Game 2 and Game 3, and our guys are itching to go.
"Stephen is going to get the nod, and he's excited about that."
Strasburg faced San Francisco twice during the regular season, holding them to one run on four hits in six innings of work in June in AT&T Park, but giving up eight hits and five runs in four innings when he faced the Giants in the D.C. in August.
His third start of the year against the NL Wild Card winners began with a fly to center that Denard Span caught...
1st: Gregor Blanco sent a fly ball to center for out no.1. Joe Panik sent Nats' center fielder Denard Span back to the track with a fly to deep center on an 0-1 pitch, but Span made an awkward leaping catch in front of the wall. Buster Posey stepped in with two out and sent a fly ball to right to end a quick, 11-pitch, 1-2-3 first.
2nd: Pablo Sandoval took a 1-1 pitch to right-center that Span tracked down. Hunter Pence stepped in with one out and singled to center for the Giants' first hit. Brandon Belt popped to short left where Bryce Harper made a catch in front of the stands that jut out toward the field. With a runner on and two out, Brandon Crawford fell behind 1-2 and K'd on a check swing on a change in the dirt. 14-pitch frame. 25 total after two.
3rd: Travis Ishikawa sent a 96 mph 1-0 fastball back up the middle for a leadoff single. Jake Peavy tried to bunt with two strikes, but Adam LaRoche played it aggressively, throwing to second to cut down the lead runner. Giants' skipper Bruce Bochy challenged the play, however, and it was overturned, leaving runners on first and second with no one out. Gregor Blanco fouled off a bunt attempt to fall behind, 1-2, and sent an unproductive fly to center for out no.1. With Joe Panik up, a passed ball did what Blanco couldn't, advancing both runners. Panik singled to center to bring Ishikawa in, and it was 1-0 Giants in the third. Buster Posey sent a grounder to third base in the next AB to start an inning-ending 5-4-3 DP. 18-pitch frame, 43 total after three.
4th: Pablo Sandoval fell behind 0-2 and sent a chopper back up the middle for second straight leadoff hit. Hunter Pence grounded into a force at second, but beat the 4-3 throw to the first base bag. Pence stole second with Brandon Belt up and scored on a single to right, 2-0. Brandon Crawford stepped in with one on and one out and singled to right to put two on in front of Travis Ishikawa. Anthony Rendon caught a foul pop off Ishikawa's bat for out no.2. Jake Peavy sent a sharp grounder to third in the next at bat, but Rendon jumped on it and fired a throw to second for the force. 22-pitch frame. 65 total after four.
5th: Gregor Blanco walked to start the fifth. Joe Panik started up 3-0 and grounded out to second on a 3-2 pitch. Buster Posey fell behind 0-2, but took a fastball off the forearm to put two on with one out. Pablo Sandoval fell behind 1-2 and K'd swinging at a 97 mph heater for out no.2. Hunter Pence popped up to first to end a 19-pitch frame that left Strasburg at 84 pitches.
6th: Brandon Belt's leadoff single in the sixth was the Giants' seventh hit off Strasburg. Brandon Crawford singled to center under a diving Ian Desmond for the second straight hit. That ended Strasburg's outing...
• Stephen Strasburg's Line: 5.0 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 Ks, 89 P, 58 S, 5/3 GO/FO.
3. Peavy vs the Nats: San Francisco Giants' right-hander Jake Peavy was asked in the press conference before his start in Game 1 of the 2014 NLDS about his tendency to talk to himself on the mound when things don't go his way.
"I get out there, I expect to be perfect," Peavy explained. "I strive for perfection. Sometimes I get upset when I don't do that. That is what I have to do. I have to emotionally let it go and move on to the next pitch. That is the one thing I -- a lot of the stuff I'm saying is reminders and stuff that I need to know."
Giants' skipper Bruce Bochy said it's nothing he hasn't seen before.
"I am used to it," he admitted. "He's always been a guy that feeds off getting on himself, yelling at himself. That is what motivates him. That is what pushes him. He will wake himself up. You don't have to wake him up; he will do it himelf out there on the mound. That's his style. It works for him."
"I know one thing," Bochy continued, "he is not crazy. He is as tough a competitor as you can have on the field."
Acquired from the Boston Red Sox in a July 26th trade, Peavy was (6-4) with a 2.17 ERA, 17 walks (1.94 BB/9) and 58 Ks (6.64 K/9) in 12 starts and 78 ⅔ IP with the Giants this season over which he held opposing hitters to a .231/.284/.338 line.
The 33-year-old veteran ended the 2014 regular season by going (4-0) in his last six starts with the Giants 6-0 in his outings.
In 39 IP over that stretch, he put up a 1.15 ERA and a .193/.255/.281 line against.
In five postseason starts before this afternoon's the right-hander was (0-3) with a 9.27 ERA, eight walks (3.22 BB/9) and 13 Ks (5.24 K/9) in 22 ⅓ IP.
The sixth postseason start of Peavy's career began with two quick outs, but Jayson Werth worked the count full and walked with two down to give the Nationals their first baserunner. Adam LaRoche stepped in with two down and K'd swinging to end a 19-pitch first.
Wilson Ramos worked the count full with two out in the second and took the second two-out walk of the game from Peavy to bring Asdrubal Cabrera to the plate. Cabrera K'd swinging, however, bringing a 21-pitch second to an end. 40 pitches total after two.
Given a 1-0 lead to work with, Peavy retired the Nationals in order in a 15-pitch, 1-2-3 third that left him at 55 pitches after three hitless frames. With the Giants up 2-0, Peavy retired the Nationals in order in a 20-pitch fourth that left him at 75 pitches after four hitless.
Bryce Harper broke up Peavy's no-hit bid with a single through the right side in the bottom of the fifth, but he was doubled up on a grounder to second off Wilson Ramos' bat in the next at bat. Asdrubal Cabrera's pop to Brandon Crawford in foul territory in left ended Peavy's fifth scoreless frame after nine pitches. 84 total after five scoreless.
Pinch hitter Nate Schierholtz started the sixth with a double off the right field wall after battling Peavy for seven pitches. Denard Span sent a fly to center for out no.1. Anthony Rendon sent a fly to right for out no.2. Jayson Werth stepped in with two out, battled for seven pitches and walked to end Peavy's outing...
• Jake Peavy's Line: 5.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 3 Ks, 104 P, 62 S, 5/4 GO/FO.
It’s ON! pic.twitter.com/6gCjENRny5— #OctoberTogether (@SFGiants) October 3, 2014
2. Turning Point(s): The Washington Nationals were 5-2 against the San Francisco Giants in the regular season, taking three of four on the road in AT&T Park and two of three in D.C., improving to 33-31 against the NL West franchise since baseball returned to the nation's capital in 2005.
At home in Nationals Park, since it opened in 2008, the Nationals were 12-11 against the Giants before the NLDS began with today's game.
Adam LaRoche was aggressive with a runner on first in the third when Giants' starter Jake Peavy tried to bunt Travis Ishikawa over, but what was originally ruled an out at second was overturned, giving San Francisco two runners on with no one out. One out later, a passed ball moved both runners into scoring position so Joe Panik could drive in a run with an RBI single to center that gave the Giants an early 1-0 lead.
Rookie right-hander Hunter Strickland inherited a bases-loaded two-out jam in the sixth and threw a 100 mph 1-2 fastball by Ian Desmond to strand three runners and give Jake Peavy a scoreless outing.
After struggling to hit anything throughout the first six innings, the Nationals got to Giants' reliever Hunter Strickland in the seventh with both Bryce Harper and Asdrubal Cabrera hitting home runs to right field to get the Nats within one at 3-2.
Nationals end the night, 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position, seven left on base.
1. The Wrap-Up: Jerry Blevins took over with two on and no one out in the sixth after back-to-back singles by Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford. Travis Ishikawa K'd swinging over an arching 1-2 bender. Jake Peavy popped to right for out no.2. Gregor Blanco sent a fly to center for out no.3. Still 2-0 Giants.
Javier Lopez took over on the mound for Jake Peavy with two on and two out in the bottom of the sixth. Adam LaRoche took the second straight walk to load the bases for Ian Desmond. Hunter Strickland replaced Lopez on the mound and struck Desmond out with a 100 mph 1-2 fastball. Still 2-0 Giants.
Craig Stammen took over on the mound in the seventh and gave up a leadoff triple to left-center by Joe Panik. Denard Span tracked it but came up empty after a leaping attempt at the wall. Buster Posey followed with a grounder up the middle and off Stammen's glove and the Giants took a 3-0 lead. Posey was caught stealing on a swinging strike three by Pablo Sandoval for a strike'em out, throw'em out DP and Hunter Pence sent a fly to left to end the top of the frame.
Strickland came back out for seventh and gave up a leadoff home run to right field that landed somewhere in a sea of red in the upper deck in Nationals Park. 3-1 Giants. One out later, Asdrubal Cabrera hit a 1-2 fastball into right field bullpen for the second home run of the inning. 3-2 Giants. Jeremy Affeldt took over on the mound with Denard Span due up and got an inning-ending groundout to second.
Matt Thornton gave up a one-out double to left-center by Brandon Crawford in the top of the eighth, but Crawford was tagged out in a rundown on a grounder back to the mound off pinch hitter Matt Duffy's bat. Pinch hitter Juan Perez came on with two out and lined out to short to end the top of the eighth.
Sergio Romo came on for the Giants in the bottom of the eighth and gave up a leadoff single to right by Anthony Rendon. Jayson Werth popped out to short right field for out no.1. Adam LaRoche sliced a one-out single to short left field to put two runners on for Ian Desmond, who K'd chasing an 0-2 slider outside. Bryce Harper stepped in with two on and two out and grounded into a force at second. Still 3-2 Giants.
Tyler Clippard gave up a bunt single by Gregor Blanco in the top of the ninth. One out later, with Buster Posey up, Blanco stole second. Blanco tagged and took third on a fly to right by Buster Posey, but was stranded tehre when Clippard popped Pablo Sandoval up to end the top of the ninth.
Santiago Casilla took over for the Giants in the ninth. Wilson Ramos grounded back to the mound. Asdrubal Cabrera sent a fly to left for out no.2. Danny Espinosa's groundout to second ended it. 3-2 Giants.
Nationals trail 1-0 to Giants