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Nationals Wild Pitch Sends Giants to NLCS for Third Time in Five Years (GIFs)
On Monday, the Nationals avoided postseason elimination thanks to a two-run throwing error by Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner.
On Tuesday, they returned the favor. Sloppy infield defense led to the first two Giants runs, and a Nationals wild pitch led to the game-winner.
In the bottom of the second, with one on and one out, Giants left fielder Juan Perez hit a weak ground ball to Nats pitcher Gio Gonzalez which, if fielded cleanly, could have turned into an inning-ending double play. But instead, this happened:
Then, with runners on first and second and one out, pitcher Ryan Vogelsong stepped to the plate to lay down a bunt and move the runners over. If fielded cleanly, the ensuing two plays—a Gregor Blanco walk and a Joe Panik ground ball out—wouldn’t have led to any runs. But the bunt was not fielded cleanly:
So the walk to Blanco made in 1-0, and the Panik ground ball out made it 2-0. But the Nats fought back, and a massive solo blast by Bryce Harper into McCovey Cove tied the game 2-2 in the top of the seventh:
But more sloppy play from the Nats pitchers ultimately proved their undoing. In the bottom of the seventh, pitcher Aaron Barrett came into the game with two on and one out. And after walking Hunter Pence to load the bases, a wild pitch led to what would end up being the winning run:
It was just an absolute train wreck. And what’s really insane is that, during the next-at bat, another Nationals wild pitch—on an intentional ball!—nearly put another Giants run across the plate:
So that’s why the Giants are headed to St. Louis to face the Cardinals in the NLCS instead of Washington for a Game 5 against the Nationals.