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Nationals drop series opener to Giants, 3-2: Matt Williams talks missed opportunities

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The Washington Nationals went 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position and left seven runners on base in what ended up a 3-2 loss to the San Francisco Giants in Game 1 of the NLDS. Jake Peavy outdueled Stephen Strasburg for his first postseason win.

H.Darr Beiser-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Williams' first postseason game as a manager ended up a 3-2 loss to the San Francisco Giants in Washington, D.C.'s Nationals Park.

Three run-scoring singles by the visiting Giants were enough to take Game 1 of the NLDS from the Nats, who scored both of their runs on solo home runs in the seventh, but came up empty with runners in scoring position five times, leaving seven runners on in what ended up a one-run loss.

"They defend well, they've got speed, they've got some power. They've got the ability with some veteran hitters in the middle of their lineup that are battle-tested to drive runs in..." - Matt Williams on the Giants after 3-2 loss

"They defend well, they've got speed, they've got some power," Williams said of the Giants. "They've got the ability with some veteran hitters in the middle of their lineup that are battle-tested to drive runs in, we saw that with Buster [Posey] today."

Posey's RBI single in the seventh inning drove in what ended up being the winning run after Joe Panik in the third and Brandon Belt in the fourth gave the Giants a 2-0 lead with their own RBI hits.

"They are tough to beat," Williams said. "We will see if we can give them a run tomorrow. And we have one of our best going again. We will see if we can get them tomorrow."

The Nationals sent one of their best out to the mound in the series opener, but Stephen Strasburg gave up eight hits, two runs, one earned and a walk, throwing 89 pitches in five innings and leaving the game after back-to-back singles in the sixth put two on with no one out.

Jake Peavy held the Nationals hitless through four and scoreless through 5 ⅔ earning the first postseason win of his 13-year major league career when the Giants' bullpen made the 3-2 lead hold up.

"I think Stras was good," Williams told reporters. "He gave us a chance. Jake was a little bit better. Jake was really good today. But we had some opportunities. We'll take that every single day of the week. The opportunity with guys out there and the middle of our order up. Today it didn't happen but I think Stras pitched fine."

"[Strasburg] threw the ball well tonight, got a couple of early runs off of him. That is always a good thing when you're in a game like this." -Bruce Bochy after the Giants' 3-2 win over the Nationals

"[Strasburg] has been throwing the ball well," Giants' skipper Bruce Bochy said after managing the Giants to their ninth straight postseason victory. "He threw the ball well tonight, got a couple of early runs off of him. That is always a good thing when you're in a game like this."

As Williams said, however, the Nationals had plenty of opportunities.

While still trailing 3-0 in the sixth, the Nationals loaded the bases in front of Ian Desmond, knocking Peavy out in the process, but hard-throwing rookie right-hander Hunter Strickland came on to strike Desmond out with a 100 mph 1-2 fastball.

With two on and two out in what was then a one-run game in the eighth, Sergio Romo threw a 1-2 slider outside that Desmond chased and Harper grounded back to the mound to end the threat.

Williams said he was fine with Desmond's approach in the two at bats.

"He has never seen Strickland," the first-year skipper said. "He throws a hundred. Those are pretty good fastballs. And Romo takes the ball from the plate, away from the plate. It's difficult to lay off those pitches.

"It is what it is. I would like to take that opportunity for Desi every day. He has been really big for us this year hitting from that spot. Driven in a lot of runs for us. We will take that opportunity any time we can get it."

Williams wasn't willing to blame the four-day break that followed the final regular season game last Sunday for the Nats' offensive issues.

"I think Jake was good," he said. "Throwing the ball to both corners, breaking balls in fastball counts, and vice versa. He is a veteran, he knows what he is doing. Made good pitches early. LIke I said, we had opportunities. One swing of the bat can mean the difference in our game today. It didn't happen. We'll see if it can happen tomorrow.

Game 2 is scheduled to start at 5:30 PM EDT in D.C. tomorrow night.