for this game

Beltway Blues: Giants edge Nats in 18-inning thriller

Oct 5, 2014 - 4:27 AM Washington, DC ( - As it turned out, the San Francisco Giants had the Washington Nationals right where they wanted them.

Pablo Sandoval's RBI double tied the game with two outs in the ninth inning, and Brandon Belt's solo homer in the 18th gave the never-say-die Giants a 2-1 victory over the Nationals in an epic Game 2 of the National League Division Series.

Belt's leadoff blast off Tanner Roark (0-1) produced the deciding run in the longest game by time in postseason history, and staked the Giants to a commanding 2-0 lead in the best-of-five series with ace Madison Bumgarner set to take the mound when the set shifts to San Francisco for Monday's Game 3.

He was just one of a number of heroes in the Giants' 10th consecutive postseason triumph, seven of which have come with the club facing elimination.

Sandoval's double down the left-field line against Drew Storen set the stage for the six-hour, 23-minute marathon, while Yusmeiro Petit held the Nationals to a single hit over six scoreless innings in a splendid performance out of the bullpen.

Petit (1-0) walked three batters but struck out seven while matching zeroes with several Washington relievers in extra time.

Despite a four-hit effort from Anthony Rendon, the Nationals wasted a brilliant start from Jordan Zimmermann when Storen failed to hold a 1-0 edge in the ninth.

Just six days removed from throwing the first no-no in Nationals history, Zimmermann yielded just three hits and retired 20 straight hitters before being lifted by manager Matt Williams after walking Joe Panik with two outs in the fateful ninth.

Washington was on the cusp of evening the series after a dominant Zimmermann recorded two quick outs to open the ninth. But Panik just missed a home run before drawing a five-pitch walk, keeping San Francisco's hopes alive and prompt Williams to remove his starter after 100 pitches.

It ultimately proved to be a fatal move.

Storen came on and was greeted by Buster Posey's single that set the stage for Sandoval, who laced a fastball down the left-field line to bring Panik in with the tying run and extend his postseason hitting streak to 13 games.

Posey raced around third on the hit but was cut down at the plate on strong throws from Bryce Harper and Ian Desmond, with a challenge from Giants skipper Bruce Bochy denied following a replay review of the bang-bang play.

That was about the only threat from either side until Belt stepped up in the 18th and launched a full-count fastball from Roark deep into the home bullpen to break an eight-inning long stalemate.

Hunter Strickland took over for Petit in the bottom of the frame and walked Rendon with two outs, but got Jayson Werth to fly out after a seven-pitch battle and finally save the second 18-inning affair in postseason annals.

Houston and Atlanta also went 18 innings in Game 4 of the 2005 NLDS. Tim Hudson started for the Braves that day, and nearly matched Zimmermann pitch- for-pitch in an outstanding first postseason outing as a Giant in this one.

Zimmermann came into the matchup 8-0 with a 1.81 ERA over his previous 11 assignments, highlighted by a no-hit performance against Miami in Sunday's regular-season finale, and was in top form once again in his second career playoff start.

Posey ensured there would be no second straight no-no with a first-inning single, but San Francisco was kept off the basepaths entirely by the standout righty for five straight innings after Travis Ishikawa's base hit to lead off the third.

Hudson, meanwhile, limped into Game 2 having produced an ugly 8.72 ERA in four September outings, but the savvy veteran was more than up to the challenge in this one.

His only trouble came in the third inning, when Asdrubal Cabrera delivered an opposite-field double and scored the Nationals' only run on Rendon's clutch two-out single that landed just out of the reach of a diving Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford.

Hudson was nearly flawless from that point on, however, keeping it a 1-0 game until giving way with one out in the eighth. The 39-year-old struck out a career postseason-best eight without a walk while scattering seven hits.

Petit was even better, with Washington's lone decent scoring opportunity during his stint coming when Desmond worked a leadoff walk in the 12th and took second on Harper's flyout to deep center. He remained there, however, as Petit registered a pair of outs around an intentional walk to pinch-hitter Nate Schierholtz.

The Giants had a chance in the top of the 12th, as Hunter Pence drilled a leadoff double off Aaron Barrett and was moved to third on a Belt groundout. Jerry Blevins kept the outcome in doubt however, by getting Crawford to pop up and pinch-hitter Andrew Susac to ground out.

Craig Stammen then relieved Blevins and fired three scoreless innings off one- hit ball as Petit continued to hold down the Nationals.

Game Notes

The Giants' 10-game winning run ties the 1989-90 Oakland A's and the 1937-41 New York Yankees for the third-longest postseason streaks ever ... Both Cabrera and Williams were ejected by home plate umpire Vic Carapazza after arguing a called third strike in the 10th inning ... Zimmermann is the second pitcher in MLB history to throw a no-hitter in his final regular-season start and then start a postseason game, with the Yankees' Allie Reynolds doing so against the Giants in the 1951 World Series ... Posey finished with three hits in six at-bats ... Doug Fister will pitch opposite Bumgarner in Monday's Game 3.