FINAL SCORE (18 INNINGS): Giants 2 - 1 Nationals; San Francisco leads NLDS 2-0
On a historically long Saturday night, the San Francisco Giants stole Game 2 of the NLDS from the Washington Nationals in dramatic fashion.
Brandon Belt (1-for-7) stepped into the box in the top of the 18th inning in a 1-1 ballgame and drove a Tanner Roark fastball 413 feet into the right-field stands. Hunter Strickland, who gave up two home runs in a single inning in Game 1, got Jayson Werth (1-for-8) to fly out to Hunter Pence for the final out with the tying run on first.
The six hour, 23-minute affair set the Major League Baseball record for the longest postseason game ever played, and its 18 innings tied the record set by the Astros and Braves in the 2005 NLDS.
Both starting pitchers were outstanding, as the game flew by for eight-and-a-half innings. For the Nationals, Jordan Zimmermann was magnificent all night: 8.2 innings, three hits, no walks and one earned. For the Giants, Tim Hudson looked like a 29-year-old—not a 39-year-old: 7.1 innings, seven hits, eight strikeouts, one earned.
Yusmeiro Petit was the real hero for the Giants, however.
The reliever, who came within a strike of a perfect game last season, took over in the bottom of the 12th and went six scoreless innings, allowing one hit and striking out seven to record the victory. For Washington, six relievers combined to hold the Giants scoreless after Pablo Sandoval (1-for-7) tied the game with two outs in the top of the ninth.
The third baseman affectionately known as the Panda spoiled Zimmermann's sparkling outing. Drew Storen replaced the owner of the Nationals' first no-hitter after Joe Panik drew Zimmerman's only base on balls. Buster Posey (3-for-6) then singled, and Sandoval came up big, slicing a double into the left-field corner.
Panik scored easily to tie the game, and Posey attempted to score from first but was cut down on a play at the plate. Bruce Bochy challenged the call, but the catcher's foot clearly floated above the plate as the tag was applied.
In all, 17 pitchers were used in the marathon game, but the teams combined for just 17 hits. Not a single error was committed, either.
Game 3 is in San Francisco on Monday, as the Nationals look to avoid elimination when they send out Doug Fister (16-6, 2.41 ERA) to take on Madison Bumgarner, who tossed a four-hit complete-game shutout against the Pittsburgh Pirates in the Wild Card Game.