That time of the year again, as the San Francisco Giants keep finding ways to win playoff games without having anything special in the lineup, this time a wild pitch that cost the Washington Nationals the series despite another big hitting game for Bryce Harper, who alone wasn’t enough to save his team from heading home for the next six months.
The Giants took the series 3-1, winning 3-2 in game 4, which is identical to how their rivals in the NLCS, the St. Louis Cardinals, beat the Dodgers. However, while the Cardinals came away with the win thanks to a three run homer in the 7th inning, the Giants needed a little less power and a bit more creativity to pull away from the Nationals in this one.
How creative? Their first run was scored by Brandon Crawford following Gregor Blanco walking with the bases loaded. The troubles weren’t over for Gio Gonzalez, as Joe Panik grounded out to first but that didn’t help him too much, because the bases were still loaded, allowing Juan Perez to score. Then came Bryce Harper with an RBI double and his third home run of this postseason, but the end belonged to another pitching mistake by the Nationals.
A wild pitch from Aaron Barrett allowed Hunter Pence to move on to second, Buster Posey to third and then Joe Panik to reach home. Posey made an attempt at home plate on the next at-bat but was called out, just shy of taking advantage of a failed attempted walk by the Nationals, who seemed to have communication problems on defense and between the pitchers and catchers all throughout this game, almost ending their postseason themselves without too much help from the Giants.
For the Giants, the formula is working. A World Series, a year out of it and back to work again. They’ve won it in 2010 and 2012. After a terrible 2013, this 2014 season is looking promising yet again, with the same kind of clutch, almost strange ability to come through with the right run at the run time while the pitching does a tremendous job. Ryan Vogelsong did a very good job in his start with 5.2 innings in which he allowed just two hits.
The win went to Hunter Strickland who actually blew the lead but got lucky thanks to Panik’s run to be accountable for the win. Sergio Romo and Santiago Casilla who came on for the final two innings had a lot more to do with the win, not allowing a single hit in those two innings, taking the Giants to face the equally resourceful St. Louis Cardinals, the team the Giants beat in the 2012 NLCS before winning the World Series.