Joe Panik, Jake Peavy lead Giants to 3-2 win over Nationals in NLDS Game 1
This time, Stephen Strasburg isn't sitting out. The Nationals' heralded right-hander, who didn't pitch during the club's 2012 postseason trip due to an innings limit, is not only a participating member during the 2014 edition, but earned the start in Game 1 of the National League Division Series against the Giants.
At Nationals Park on Friday, he went up against San Francisco righty Jake Peavy, who was looking to continue the magic that helped him post a 2.17 ERA and 1.04 WHIP since joining the Giants in July.
Giants rookie Joe Panik broke a scoreless tie in the third with an RBI single to plate Travis Ishikawa. Given his three base knocks in the NL Wild Card game Wednesday, you could almost say Panik has been … relaxed.
An inning later, Hunter Pence stole second and scored on Brandon Belt's single to right.
The Giants extended their lead to 3-0 in the seventh before the Nats broke through. Panik tripled to lead off the inning, then scored on a Buster Posey single that ricocheted off reliever Craig Stammen. Center fielder Denard Span couldn't quite come down with Posey's long fly ball.
Washington trimmed that San Francisco lead to 3-2 with two swings in the bottom of the seventh. The first was a mammoth Bryce Harper home run to the upper deck in right field.
The second was an Asdrubal Cabrera home run to right, which didn't go as far but counted as one run just the same.
For the Giants, it's not Panik time just yet. But the Nationals are doing their best to Span what was once a three-run deficit.- Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) October 3, 2014
Five San Francisco relievers pitched in and out of trouble throughout their 3 1/3 innings, though the two dingers Hunter Strickland gave up were the only real blemishes.
Closer Santiago Casilla needed only seven pitches to retire the Nats in order in the ninth.
The Game Changer
Peavy draws high praise for his competitiveness -- getting by with less-than-great stuff and turning in gutsy, effective outings anyway. Friday was another example of that. He shut Washington out for 5 2/3 innings, scattering two hits and three walks while striking out three.
He also provided his fair share of classic, super-intense Peavy moments.
The Nationals didn't record their first hit until the fifth, but when Harper reached on a leadoff single that frame, the previously quiet 44,035 at Nationals Park got right back into it.
The next pitch, though, yielded a Wilson Ramos double play. Witness a pumped Peavy, apparently attempting to match the enthusiasm of the entire home crowd:
Other Key Players, Plays
Span helped keep the Giants off the board early when he robbed Panik of extra bases in the first inning.
Before Strickland gave up homers to Harper and Cabrera in the seventh, he escaped a bases-loaded jam in the sixth by fanning Ian Desmond. Not too many humans would have a chance at this 100-mph heat inside for strike three.
Posey's RBI single to score Panik in the seventh wound up standing as the game-winner.
It will be a quick turnaround for both teams. They face off again in Game 2 at 5:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, when Giants righty Tim Hudson and Nationals righty Jordan Zimmermann take to the Nationals Park mound.
Game 2 will be Hudson's first foray into the postseason since a 2010 outing with the Braves -- against the Giants, no less -- and second since 2005. Zimmermann, fresh off his no-hitter in the regular season finale Sunday, will be making his postseason debut.