The Giants beat the Pirates in Pittsburgh’s PNC Park by the score of 8-0 in Wednesday’s NL wild-card game due to ace left-hander Madison Bumgarner and Brandon Crawford’s fourth-inning grand slam in a scoreless game, the first in postseason history by a shortstop. They both lead Giants to epic victory.
The San Francisco Giants had the bases loaded with no outs, and Edinson Volquez, the Pirates’ starter, had two strikes on the batter, Brandon Crawford.
The victory was the seventh consecutive win in a playoff elimination game for the Giants, the World Series champions in 2010 and 2012. “These guys have found a way to do it,” Giants Manager Bruce Bochy said. “They have that DNA. And they did it again today.”
Overpowering one of the NL’s best lineups, Bumgarner walked one and threw 79 of 109 pitches for strikes in his latest stellar postseason performance. The big left-hander, who allowed only four singles, has thrown 15 scoreless innings in two World Series starts. Volquez was trying to cap his remarkable comeback season by sending Pittsburgh to the NLDS for the second straight year, but he couldn’t match Bumgarner.
The right-hander cruised until the fourth, when a pair of singles and a walk loaded the bases with no outs. Crawford followed with a drive that kept carrying all the way to the seats above the 21-foot high Roberto Clemente wall to silence the largest crowd in the 13-year history of PNC Park.
The defense behind Bumgarner had its sloppy moments as well, including two errors and a pair of near collisions when right fielder Hunter Pence wouldn’t clear the way for a teammate on a fly ball, but also had Bumgarner’s back when necessary.
After winning the World Series in 2010 and 2012, the Giants (88-74) are hoping to keep up their every-other-year pattern. San Francisco missed the playoffs after each of those championships but is back this season as the second NL wild-card team. After relying on stellar pitching during those two title runs, the Giants are more balanced this year, finishing fifth in the NL in runs and seventh in ERA
The Pirates made the postseason for a second straight year. Considering their limited budget and their grim pre-2013 recent history, that’s indeed a praiseworthy achievement.
San Francisco will face NL East champion Washington in the NL Division Series on Friday.