The San Francisco Giants and Washington Nationals met in DC for Game 2 of their National League Division Series. When the contest began on Saturday evening, no one could have expected it would end Sunday night and go into the record books as the longest playoff game in Major League History.
The Giants and Nats finished 9 innings of baseball tied 1-1. Extra inning after extra inning went by with the score unchanged. And then, in the top of the 18th, San Francisco first baseman Brandon Belt drove a home run into the second tier stands at Nationals Park, putting the Giants up 2-1.
That was all the run support pitcher Yusmeiro Petit needed. He was on the mound for the final six innings, allowing one hit, three walks, and striking out seven. In the bottom of the 18th, he shut down Washington to win one of the most epic games of professional baseball ever played. It began at 5:37 p.m. and ended at midnight, a total of 6 hours and 23 minutes, longer than any playoff game in MLB history. (The previous record was Game 5 of the 2005 Braves-Astros divisional series. It also took 18 innings, but only last 5 hourse and 50 minutes.)
But more important than making history, the victory sends the Giants home up 2-0 on the Nationals in the series.
"That's how we do it. On paper, it might not be the flashiest thing, compared to a lot of teams. But I like this group against anybody in baseball," said Giants starter Tim Hudson, who pitched the first 7 1/3 innings of the game. "Who'd have thought we'd have came here and won the first two? Everybody in America probably didn't think we had a shot. But everybody in this locker room knew that we did."
The question now is: How will the Nationals respond? Being down two games in a best-of-five series is hard enough. But having to fight back after playing two games in one might make the task impossible.
"You can't sit around and feel sorry for yourself," Nationals reliever Drew Storen said. "There's still baseball to play. We still have a job to do. We have three games. If we come back and play our game, we're going to be fine."
We’ll know tonight if the NL East champs can bounce back, or if the Giants earn a spot in the NLCS.
Photo: Alex Brandon/AP Photo