Photo above: Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig hit by Adam Wainwright pitch that cleared both dugouts.
The NLDS series got under way Friday Night, in Washington D.C. where the San Francisco Giants faced the Washington Nationals and here in Dodger Stadium, with the visiting St. Louis Cardinals taking on the L.A. Dodgers.
The Washington Nationals had the best record in the National League this season so the Giants had an uphill battle facing the Nationals on the road. But they did it with great pitching that was slightly better than the Nationals’ great pitching.
Neither team had really big innings; the Giants got to Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg early with one run in the third inning on small ball play, including a sacrifice fielder’s choice by Giants pitcher Jake Peavy. They scored again in the fourth inning on a single by Brandon Belt that brought home Hunter Pence. Their third run came in the seventh when Joe Panik hit a triple to center and then Buster Posey singled to bring him home.
The Nats didn’t get on the board until the seventh inning when Bryce Harper and Asdrubal Cabrera hit solo home runs.
The Giants stole the first game of the series, following the lead of the Kansas City Royals who beat the Oakland A’s in the Wild Card Game with small ball and then put the L.A. Angels on the edge of elimination with the same kind of game.
The Royals scored first in the second inning when Eric Hosmer hit single to right. He was able to take second on a throwing error by Kole Calhoun. Alex Gordon singled to right and that brought Hosmer home.
Albert Pujols tied the game in the sixth when he singled to right, bringing Calhoun home. The game stayed tied through the regulation nine innings, through the 10th and into the 11th inning when Hosmer hit a two-run homer that scored Lorenzo Cain. Alex Gordon walked and then stole second, putting himself in scoring position for Salvador Perez who hit a single that scored Gordon.
The score at the end of the game was 4-1 with the visiting Royals taking the lead in the series 2-0. They head to Kansas City for Game 3, the Angels final chance to stay in the post season.
Both starting pitchers in last night’s game, Matt Shoemaker for the Angels and Yordano Ventura for the Royals, pitched very well. Take away Kole Calhoun’s error in the top of the second and it might have been a different game.
The Detroit Tigers face elimination with Sunday’s game in Detroit. They lost the first two against the Baltimore Orioles in Camden Yards, the first game by a score of 12-3 and last night 7-6. The Tigers were considered a good match up for the Orioles and possibly the most likely to win this series, but the Baltimore club didn’t hear or see that analysis.
Baltimore scored first, but the Tigers had a big inning in the fourth when they scored five runs to take the lead, 5-2. Three hits became a run and two homers scored four runs.
The Tigers stayed in the lead until the bottom of the eighth inning. The Orioles were able to score four runs on three hits, a walk and Alex Jones getting beaned by a pitch. If last night’s games proved anything is that in the post season every mistake in the field can turn the game.
That was the big question in Dodger Stadium after last night’s game. Was it a mistake to keep Clayton Kershaw in the game after he gave up that second solo home run (by Matt Carpenter) in the sixth inning? He had thrown about 100 pitches at that point and the temperature at game time had been in the 90’s, but Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said he asked Kershaw how he felt after the sixth and Kershaw said he felt fine.
The Dodgers had sent Cards starter Adam Wainwright to the dugout in the fifth inning after the ace gave up six runs, so it looked like this would be one for the Dodgers.
But in the top of the seventh the St. Louis Cardinals took Kershaw and the Dodgers to the cleaners with a combination of hits and a three-run homer by Matt Holliday. The Cards scored five runs off Kershaw and three more off reliever Pedro Baez before the seventh inning was over.
The Dodgers battled back with a two-run homer by Adrian Gonzalez in the eighth and a sacrifice grounder by Dee Gordon in the ninth that scored A.J. Ellis, but it wasn’t enough to win the game and the Cardinals took the first game of this five game series, 10-9.
The first big moment in the game came when Adam Wainwright hit Yasiel Puig with a pitch in the third inning. Puig took his base, but when Adrian Gonzalez walked to the plate he said something to Cards catcher Yadier Molina, in Spanish, and the umpires stepped in to keep the confrontation from escalating. Both dugouts came onto the field, but no one was tossed from the game, even though Molina clearly pushed one of the umpires, a rules violation that should have resulted in an immediate ejection from the game.
It was a big game so the officials were giving both teams some slack. But there is a history of Cards pitchers hitting Dodgers batters. It happened earlier this year twice in one game and then once in the following game, so Gonzalez was reacting to all of that history, not just that one pitch to Puig.
While the dugouts were busy keeping Molina and Gonzalez from going at it, Wainwright walked over to Puig to assure him it wasn’t intentional, that both teams were just trying to win the game. Hitting Puig affected Wainwright and it was clear he lost some of his confidence after that. He didn’t pitch well after that moment.
The MLB post season continues today with the Dodgers hosting the Cards once again and the Nationals hosting the Giants. It’s interesting that in the National League, the two visiting teams have won the first games of their series. The Cardinals are one of the best post season teams of all time so it will be no surprise if they end up in the World Series. If the Giants win again today, they will most likely make it into the NLCS.
As for the Kansas City Royals: expect to see them in the ALCS against the Baltimore Orioles.
The post season has been really good so far.
Puig getting hit by Wainwright pitch.
Claudia is of Peruvian and Italian descent, having been born in a small town, in the North of Peru, South America. She was raised by her grandmother from an early age, living in poverty until Claudia’s mother brought her to America. She landed in Miami, FL and started her new life, playing high school basketball and eventually becoming a United States citizen. Claudia completed her education at Florida International University with a BA in Broadcast Journalism and became a model to supplement her income. Since graduating from FIU Claudia has worked with many of the Spanish Language broadcasting companies, including Telemundo, Univision and most recently Spanish Language channels on SiriusXM satellite radio and PasTV Deportes in Venezuela.She encourages you to follow her on Twitter and Facebook. Her content appears here under a shared content agreement with her Spanish television clients.