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2014 NLDS: Giants and Cardinals Advance to NLCS

Playoff experience won out in the 2014 NLDS and the San Francisco Giants and St. Louis Cardinals are now set to meet in a highly anticipated NLCS.

On Tuesday night, the San Francisco Giants and St. Louis Cardinals advanced to the NLCS, defeating the Washington Nationals and Los Angeles Dodgers, respectively. Both teams will now fight for the opportunity to play either Baltimore or Kansas City in the World Series.

Matt Adams‘ Home Run Propels Cardinals to 3-2 Win over Dodgers.
Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw had a chance to redeem himself after giving up eight earned runs in his last NLDS start against the St. Louis Cardinals. He was better, but not good enough as the Cardinals won 3-2 to take the series, three games to one.

Kershaw pitched a scoreless six innings of nearly perfect ball before disaster struck in the seventh. After allowing consecutive singles to Matt Holliday and Jhonny Peralta, Kershaw gave up a three-run homer to Matt Adams, which proved to be the difference in the game.

The inning before, Kershaw was cruising and picked up two runs of support as Los Angeles took a 2-0 lead. That wasn’t enough to top Adams’ big blast, however, and neither team scored after that. For Kershaw, the disappointing result is a familiar scene. In his postseason career, the Dodgers ace is only 1-5 with an ERA over 5.00 – despite being one of the best pitchers in baseball. Manager Don Mattingly‘s decision to pitch him on short rest will be questioned, but the better question, perhaps, is if Mattingly should have pulled him after six innings.

Lost a bit in the dramatic home run was Shelby Miller‘s good start for St. Louis. Miller didn’t quite reach six innings, but giving up only two runs in 5 2/3 innings on the big NLDS stage gave the Cardinals a chance to stay in it.

St. Louis’ bullpen also did their job in fighting through a couple of jams unscathed. With runners on the corners in the seventh, Marco Gonzalez got Adrian Gonzalez to ground out. With two more on in the ninth, Trevor Rosenthal forced Carl Crawford into a ground out to end the game.

Wild Pitch Sends Giants to NLCS in 3-2 Win over Nationals
The San Francisco Giants will again have a chance to reach the World Series after defeating the Washington Nationals, 3-2 on Tuesday night.

With the game tied 2-2 in the seventh inning, San Francisco was the beneficiary of a bases-loaded wild pitch by Nats pitcher Aaron Barrett, resulting in a go-ahead run. That gave the Giants their second lead of the game – and this time they held it.

San Francisco won the game despite some heroics by Bryce Harper. The Washington star hit an RBI double in the fifth inning to cut the lead to 2-1. It was also Harper who tied the game at 2-2, scoring the Nationals’ other run with a seventh-inning home run. He added a walk in the ninth to give Washington a chance to make another comeback before Wilson Ramos‘ ground out ended the game.

Harper was 2-3 on the night but Washington didn’t have much offense besides him, collecting only two additional hits.

Joe Panik scored what proved to be the Giants’ winning run off of Barrett’s wild pitch. San Francisco also got two hits apiece from Buster Posey and Brandon Crawford on the night.

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