SAN FRANCISCO - The Nationals said coming into San Francisco that if they just played their game and got a break or two along the way, that they could very easily come back to win this series.
They might have just gotten that break.
Madison Bumgarner’s throwing error on a Wilson Ramos sacrifice bunt led to two runs, and the Nats tacked on an additional run in the seventh inning to take a 3-0 lead.
Ramos came up with two on and nobody out after Ian Desmond’s leadoff single and a Bryce Harper walk. Ramos squared to bunt on both the first and third pitches of the at-bat, but didn’t offer either time. He fell behind in the count 1-2, then squared around to bunt yet again.
This time, he offered and got down a good one. Bumgarner could have gotten the easy out at first, but instead opted to try and cut down Desmond at third. His throw was late and wide of the target, and the ball went down the left field line.
Desmond and Harper both came around to score, giving the Nats the lead. Asdrubal Cabrera then immediately followed with a single to left, and third base coach Bob Henley waved Ramos around from second, testing the weak arm of left fielder Travis Ishikawa. That aggressiveness was rewarded when Ramos slid in ahead of Buster Posey’s tag, making it 3-0.
Ramos had dropped down just four sac bunts in his career coming into today. The last one came in 2011.
This one was huge. He didn’t look like he wanted any part of getting the bunt down the first two times he squared around, but with two strikes, he got the job done. And the Nats now have a lead going into the late innings.
Update: Fister’s day ended after seven stellar innings of work. And Tyler Clippard has now sent us to the ninth, with the Nats still holding a 3-0 lead.
Fister went seven scoreless innings, allowing just four hits and three walks, with three strikeouts. He threw 99 pitches, 64 for strikes.
After struggling a bit with his command in the early innings, Fister locked in and was tremendous in a hosile environment in a must-win game.
Clippard breezed through a 1-2-3 eighth, retiring the top of the Giants order.
Three outs separate the Nats from grabbing their first game in this series and putting the pressure squarely on the Giants.
Update II: Bryce Harper added another mammoth home run, his second of the series, and Drew Storen allowed a run in the ninth before shutting the door. This game is over, and the Nats live to see another day.
They pick up a 4-1 win over the Giants. Doug Fister gets the win, making him 4-2 with a 2.60 ERA in his postseason career.
It’ll be Gio Gonzalez against Ryan Vogelsong tomorrow, folks. This ain’t over yet.