Both NLDS series came to a close on Tuesday. The St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants won to give them each a three games to one series win. The Cardinals beat the Los Angeles Dodgers while the Giants defeated the Washington Nationals.
With Washington having the best regular season record in the National League, and San Francisco being the Wild Card, Washington was favored to win the series. However, Washington’s lack of offense behind strong pitching ultimately cost them the series. After losing game one 3-2, the Nationals lost the longest game in postseason history on Saturday night 2-1. Both teams headed to San Francisco where the Giants looked to win one more game and head to their third NLCS since 2010.
In San Francisco for game three, the Nationals were able to get a win with a three-run 7th inning being the difference. Giants’ pitcher Madison Bumgarner had a two-run throwing error on a sacrifice by Wilson Ramos. Ramos would score on a single by Asdrubal Cabrera. Bryce Harper homered in the 9th, but San Francisco also got a run in the bottom of the inning on a sacrifice fly by Brandon Crawford. Drew Storen closed out a 4-1 win for the Nationals thanks to seven scoreless innings from Doug Fister.
San Francisco would clinch the series on Tuesday. The Giants hopped out to an early 2-0 lead on a bases loaded walk from Nationals pitcher Gio Gonzalez and then an RBI ground out from Joe Panik. The Nats got one back in the top of the fifth when Bryce Harper doubled to score Ian Desmond. Washington would tie it when Harper sent a 3-1 pitch from Hunter Strickland into the stands in the 7th. In the bottom of that inning, Joe Panik scored on a wild pitch from Aaron Barrett. The Giants took a 3-2 lead and did not look back as Strickland got the win and Santiago Casilla earned the save. San Francisco will move on to play the St. Louis Cardinals.
The NL Central champion St. Louis Cardinals beat the NL West champion Los Angeles Dodgers Tuesday night to win their series. After splitting the series in Los Angeles, the Cardinals threw deadline acquisition John Lackey against Dodgers South Korean native Hyun-Jin Ryu. The Cards jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the third inning when Matt Carpenter, who homered in both games in LA, homered in his third straight game as he drove Ryu’s two-strike pitch over the center field wall. The Dodgers tied the game in the 6th when shortstop Hanley Ramirez drove home Yasiel Puig who got the inning started with a leadoff triple. After a Yadier Molina double in the bottom of the 7th, second baseman Kolten Wong crushed the first pitch he saw from Brandon League into the bullpen in right field. The Cardinals took a 3-1 lead into the top of the 9th, where, after giving up two singles, Trevor Rosenthal saved the game.
The long ball helped the Cardinals again in game four. St. Louis hit just over 100 home runs in the regular season, but those numbers mean nothing in the post season. The Cardinals once again got to probable 2014 Cy Young award winner Clayton Kershaw. They did not need eight runs like they got off of him in game one, but they were able to chase him again in the 7th inning. Los Angeles scored two in the 6th. Matt Kemp scored Carl Crawford on a double play and then Juan Uribe scored Hanley Ramirez on a two-out single. In the bottom of the 7th, momentum shifted. Kershaw had allowed one hit through 6, but after singles by Jhonny Peralta and Matt Holliday, Matt Adams stepped into the batter’s box. He hit Kershaw’s 0-1 pitch into the St. Louis bullpen and sent the crowd into a frenzy. Rosenthal closed out the game again, sending St. Louis to their fourth straight NLCS, adding to their record of 13 total appearances.
Game 1 of the NLCS will be on Saturday, October 11th. At least one of these teams has been in the NLCS each year since 2010. They met in 2012 when San Francisco, down 3-1 in the series, outscored St. Louis 20-1 in the last three games to secure a trip to the World Series, which they won. The Giants will start Madison Bumgarner. He’ll go up against St. Louis ace and 20 game winner Adam Wainwright. This will be an exciting series as these two teams have found themselves back where they believe they belong.
Written by: Sam Soergel