The San Francisco Giants won Game 1 of the National League Championship Series, beating the St. Louis Cardinals 3-0.
The Giants did not change their strategy one bit from the formula that won them the division series. Offensively, that meant playing small ball. In the top of the second inning, the Giants loaded the bases with a double, a walk, and a single. With one out, left fielder Travis Ishikawa hit a blooper that managed to fall between the left fielder, the third basemen, the shortstop and the left field line to bring a run home. Two batters later, with two outs, center fielder Gregor Blanco hit a sharp ground ball that third baseman Matt Carpenter booted, bringing in one more.
In the third, the Giants had runners on first and third and one out for first baseman Brandon Belt, who hit a sacrifice fly to bring catcher Buster Posey home.
On the defensive end, the Giants turned to their ace. Madison Bumgarner pitched 7.2 innings, giving up no runs, four hits, and striking out seven. His performance continued the dominance he’s had on the road, having gone 26.2 straight innings in postseason road games without giving up a run. That broke the record, previously held by Art Nehf of the New York Giants, who set it when Calvin Coolidge was president.
“He was on top of his game,” Giants’ manager Bruce Bochy said. “Really was hitting his spots, using all of his pitches. He’s so good at what he does… He executed all night against a tough lineup.”
With two outs in the bottom of the eighth, Bumgarner handed the ball over to Sergio Romo, who got Cardinals’ left fielder Matt Holliday to fly out to center. In the ninth, closer Santiago Casilla came in and pitched a perfect inning to get the save.
With the outing, the bullpen continued the dominance that it’s shown all postseason. After the game, the pen has a combined ERA of 1.14.
The series continues tomorrow at 5 p.m.The projected starters are Jake Peavy for the Giants and Lance Lynn for the Cardinals.