Peavy edges Strasburg as Giants take series opener

The Giants defeated the Nationals 3-2 in Game 1 of the National League Division Series on Friday, with Jake Peavy outpitching Stephen Strasburg. But it wasn't like the Giants were teeing off on Strasburg. They had no extra-base hits until Strasburg had departed, but their eight singles were damaging enough.

In turn, the Nationals were unable to avoid the Giants' gloves, minus two huge home runs from Bryce Harper and Asdrubal Cabrera.

Strasburg did not believe the location of all of the Giants base hits - they frequently went up the middle - were any kind of team strategy coming in.

strasburg sunset throwing sidebar.jpg"I don't think the game plan is to just go back up the middle," Strasburg said. "That's just where they hit. Today, they hit it where we weren't. It was just one of those days. I thought we fought hard as a team, especially getting back into it there. We just got to keep that fire (and) it'll turn."

Giants second baseman Joe Panik smacked a RBI single off of Strasburg to start the scoring and San Francisco led 1-0 in the third. The Giants tacked on another run in the fourth on a Brandon Belt run-scoring single. San Francisco led 2-0 and right-hander Peavy had the small cushion he needed, holding the Nationals to two hits over 5 2/3 innings.

"He threw well. He mixed up his pitches," Panik said of Strasburg. "He had some hard outs early on. He kept grinding. (We) put together good at-bats, able to strike through in the (third and fourth). Did our job, pushing some runs across. Jake did a heck of a job keeping them off the board. Without them getting off to a good start like that, the place would get crazy and stuff. Jake did a heck of a job."

Nationals manager Matt Williams agreed, saying Strasburg hung in there, but Peavy was just a little bit better.

"I thought Stras was good. Gave us a chance," Williams said. "Jake was really good today. We had some opportunities. We take that every single day of the week. An opportunity with guys out there, middle of our order up. Today it didn't happen. I think Stras pitched fine."

"Pretty good mix of everything, at least from the left side," Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche said of Peavy's work. "I don't think he had his best stuff. I think he was a little erratic at times but then again, he made some big pitches when he needed to. He'd fall behind and then find a way to put guys away."

With Strasburg making his first playoff start after having been denied a shot in 2012, was he too amped up?

"He was good. Throwing strikes early," Williams said. "It wasn't that he was so excited that he wasn't throwing strikes. Worked through the first inning well. I think he pitched fine. For the first time for him, I think it was good."

Strasburg felt the crowd, a sellout of 44,035, but he didn't believe it changed his ability to make the right pitches.

"Felt a lot like opening day," Strasburg said. "Just talking to J-Dub (Jayson Werth), he kinda said it was going to be like that, so I felt pretty strong."

Strasburg struck out two, which is a relatively low number after striking out 242 on the season. He said he really would have preferred to throw the curveball more.

"I didn't really throw it enough," Strasburg said. "I was getting contact. I was getting ground balls. I gave up all singles. It wasn't like they were really hitting me all around the yard where I needed to go to it. It was just kind of one of those days where I felt like I made the pitch and they fought it off and hit it where we weren't.

"Usually when you give up eight hits, they are all not singles. I really had to go out and battle through some innings today. That's what I wanted to do going into the start. I'm happy with that and I'm just going to keep doing that."

Strasburg was calm after the start, confident that he did what he could and didn't get all the breaks. But he also is well aware of the situation his team is in now.

"We just got to turn the page," Strasburg said. "We got to keep playing hard. Still had a little tough sledding early on, getting everything going. It seemed like we started put some hits together there in the end. We got to stick with that and take that into the first inning tomorrow."

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