The National League Division Series’ began on Friday and the San Francisco Giants and St. Louis Cardinals scored wins in their openers.
Bullpens Carry Load in San Francisco Giants’ 3-2 Victory Against Washington Nationals
Stephen Strasburg and Jake Peavy got the starts for the Washington Nationals and San Francisco Giants, but it was the bullpens that had to carry their teams. In the end, San Francisco outlasted Washington in a 3-2 opening series win.
Despite pitching well, neither Strasburg nor Peavy got out of the sixth inning. Trailing 2-0 in the top of the sixth, Strasburg allowed two consecutive singles and was lifted in favor of reliever Jerry Blevins. After running into trouble in the bottom of the inning, Peavy was pulled despite not giving up a run in 5 2/3 innings. Peavy’s pitch count was already at 104 and after giving up his third walk of the game, he was replaced by Javier Lopez.
Peavy wasn’t an ideal Game 1 starter. On the season, he was only 7-13 with a 3.73 ERA. Having used ace Madison Bumgarner in the Giants’ Wild Card matchup against the Pittsburgh Pirates, though, manager Bruce Bochy‘s options were limited. Still, despite the high pitch count, Peavy certainly did his job against a strong Nationals’ team.
Washington rallied when Bryce Harper and Asdrubal Cabrera hit solo home runs off of Hunter Strickland in the bottom of the seventh inning. Harper’s shot, in particular, was smashed, going a distance of approximately 450 feet. It wasn’t enough, though, as three more Giants’ relievers closed the door, pitching three scoreless innings.
All told, both teams used a combined nine pitchers out of the bullpen after getting relatively short outings from their starters.
Saturday’s Game 2 will feature Jordan Zimmerman of the Nationals vs. the Giants’ Tim Hudson. Zimmerman comes into the matchup red hot having just thrown a no-hitter in Washington’s regular season finale.
Starting Pitchers Rocked as St. Louis Cardinals Win 10-9 over Los Angeles Dodgers
Clayton Kershaw is arguably the best pitcher in baseball, but even the best have off days. He suffered a rare defeat in Game 1 of the Dodgers’ series against the Cardinals as St. Louis went onto a 10-9 victory.
For six innings, Kershaw was his regular dominant self, giving up only two runs. Going back to the fifth inning, the Dodgers held a commanding 6-1 lead and with a five run advantage, few could have imagined the final outcome of the game with the team’s ace on the mound.
Kershaw, who lost only three times in the regular season, surrendered a home run to Matt Carpenter, but ran into serious trouble in the seventh as the Cardinals exploded for eight runs in the inning. He gave up four consecutive singles to lead off the inning before giving up another single and a double, allowing five runs. After he was pulled with two runners on base, Matt Holiday crushed a three-run home run, adding two more runs to Kershaw’s book. When it was all said and done, he was charged with eight earned runs in only 6 2/3 innings. The eight he gave up was equal to what he gave up in all of September.
Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright wasn’t effective, either. The 20-game winner was rocked for six runs and 11 hits in only 4 1/3 innings. Wainwright threw an astounding 102 pitches despite not making it out of the fifth and was hit around quite a bit.
Trailing 10-6, the Dodgers rallied, scoring three runs in the final two innings. The team, however, fell just short as Yasiel Puig struck out with two runners on base to end the game.
The strikeout ended an interesting night for the Dodgers star. Puig had a hand in four of the Dodgers’ nine runs, but the moment that will be remembered most was when he was hit by a pitch in the third inning, setting off a bench-clearing scuffle. A major fight didn’t break out, but there was plenty of animosity between the two teams, and that’s something to keep an eye on the rest of the way.
Game 2 will feature the Cardinals’ Lance Lynn opposite Los Angeles starting pitcher Zach Greinke.
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