NL Wild Card Recap
After a riveting start to the postseason on Tuesday night in the AL Wild Card game, the NL Wild Card fell a bit short in the drama department.
The Giants dominated the Pirates 8-0 in Pittsburgh behind a masterful performance by San Francisco’s Madison Bumgarner, who pitched a complete game, allowing 4 hits and tallying 10 strikeouts. They also got a surprising contribution from shortstop Brandon Crawford, who hit a grand slam in the 4th inning off of Pittsburgh starter Edinson Volquez to get the scoring started for the Giants. It was the first grand slam in postseason history by a shortstop. From there, the Giants held total control of the game.
After a 6-2 win in last years NL Wild Card game against the Reds, the Pirates couldn’t work their October magic again this season. Despite a raucous crowd early in the game, the Bucs could not get anything going. The offense was anemic, with half of their hits coming from Josh Harrison. Only one runner was able to get to third base in the entire game, and that came in the 8th inning when the Giants were already up by 8 runs. Edinson Volquez pitched fairly well before the 4th inning, but then fell apart, giving up 5 runs on 5 hits in 5 innings of work. He also gave up 3 walks and had only 3 strikeouts. Once he put the Pirates in a hole early on, Bumgarner was able to really settle in for San Francisco and, at that point, the Pirates didn’t stand a chance.
The best part for the Giants offensively was that they got almost all of their runs from unexpected sources. Crawford had 4 RBIs from his grand slam and the next 3 RBIs came from Brandon Belt, who hit .243 on the season with only 27 RBIs. 6 of the 9 players in the lineup got a hit, 4 of them with more than 1. That offensive production paired with Bumgarner’s pitching makes the Giants a solid team come October.
This marked the Giants’ 8th straight postseason victory dating back to their World Series victory in 2012. Next, the Giants put that streak on the line against the Washington Nationals in the NLDS.
Written by: Alex Dittmar