Wild pitch moves Giants into National League playoffs

Wed Oct 8, 2014 1:31am EDT
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SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The San Francisco Giants will take on the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Championship Series after eliminating the Washington Nationals with a 3-2 Game Four win on Tuesday.

The Giants sealed the best-of-five Division playoffs 3-1, setting up a re-match of the 2012 Championship Series with the Cardinals, who earlier knocked out the Dodgers.

A wild pitch from Aaron Barrett with bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh proved decisive, allowing Joe Panik home for the winning run after Buster Posey had singled and Hunter Pence was walked.

That followed a second inning meltdown for the Nationals, with starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez walking Gregor Blanco with the bases loaded.

Juan Perez, who had reached base on an error, flashed home to double the advantage as Panik ground out to first.

Washington halved the advantage in the top of the fifth when Ian Desmond was driven in from first by a Bryce Harper double to left field.

For a second it appeared Jayson Werth might tie the scores in the sixth only to have Giants right fielder Pence brilliantly throw himself against the outfield fence to make a great catch.

“It’s outstanding. It’s been a remarkable journey, I wouldn’t trade it for the world,” Pence told reporters.

“This group, to take the field in this stadium, with this team and these fans, it’s truly a blessing.”   Continued...

Oct 7, 2014; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants players including Pablo Sandoval (48) and Brandon Belt (second from left) celebrate on the mound after defeating the Washington Nationals in game four of the 2014 NLDS baseball playoff game at AT&T Park. Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports