for this game

Fister bests Bumgarner as Nats stay alive

Oct 7, 2014 - 1:57 AM San Francisco, CA ( - Doug Fister and the Washington Nationals kept their championship hopes alive by flipping the script on Madison Bumgarner and the San Francisco Giants in Game 3 of the National League Division Series.

With Fister rising up to twirl seven scoreless innings and Bumgarner committing a critical error that resulted in the game's first two runs, the Nationals staved off elimination with a 4-1 victory at AT&T Park.

After blowing a lead in the ninth en route to a crushing 18-inning loss in Saturday's Game 2 to put its season on the brink, Washington showed its resiliency in forcing another game in this best-of-five set after dropping the initial two matchups at home.

The Nationals got some help from the usually unflappable Bumgarner, whose errant throw to third base on Wilson Ramos' seventh-inning sacrifice bunt enabled two runs to score and end a 0-0 stalemate.

Fister (1-0) did his part on the hill, holding the Giants to four singles and three walks, and Bryce Harper provided an insurance run with a solo homer in the ninth inning.

"He was in command all day with everything," Nationals manager Matt Williams said of Fister. "He just continues to compete for us, and we were able to manufacture something there (in the seventh inning)."

Asdrubal Cabrera added an RBI single to help Washington put an end to a 10- game postseason win streak for San Francisco that dated back to the 2012 NLCS. Bumgarner (1-1) had been on the mound for two of those triumphs, including last week's NL wild card Game in which the lefty spun a four-hit, 10-strikeout shutout at Pittsburgh.

The Giants' ace fanned six over seven innings on Monday, but was reached for three runs -- two earned -- on six hits.

San Francisco will try again to clinch on its home field when Game 4 takes place Tuesday. Ryan Vogelsong is slated to pitch for the Giants opposite Gio Gonzalez.

Much like Saturday's epic Game 2, a 2-1 Giants' decision in the longest postseason game in MLB history, runs were at a premium as both Fister and Bumgarner came out in top form.

The two had squared off in postseason play in this very same stadium once previously, back in the 2012 World Series when Fister threw Game 2 while then with the Detroit Tigers. That game was scoreless after six innings before the Giants scored two late runs to prevail.

The same scenario began to unfold in Monday's rematch as well, with the two accomplished hurlers again matching zeroes through six frames until this time Bumgarner became the first to blink.

Ian Desmond hit a sharp single to begin the seventh and Bumgarner walked Harper on five pitches to put two on with none out. Ramos followed with a bunt to the first-base side of the mound that Bumgarner fielded cleanly and immediately fired the ball to third, but the throw sailed out of Pablo Sandoval's reach and into the San Francisco bullpen in foul territory.

Desmond scored easily on the error, with Harper sliding in safely as well when the ball got by left fielder Travis Ishikawa after caroming off the infield tarp.

"I can't throw the ball away right there," said Bumgarner. "Obviously, hindsight's 20/20. You get an out (at first) and then you figure you walk Cabrera and they've got the pitcher or a pinch-hitter coming up. Shouldn't have done it."

Cabrera then shot a single through the left side of the infield, in which Ramos just beat Ishikawa's throw to the plate for a 3-0 lead.

The three-run outburst ended a string of 21 straight scoreless innings for Washington in the series, while putting Bumgarner's streak of 22 straight without allowing a run to an end.

"I mentioned it (Sunday) that we just need one break. It's been a tough couple games here to start. And we got our break," Nationals closer Drew Storen said.

Harper made a nice shoestring catch on Ishikawa's ball in the gap with a man on in the bottom of the seventh to preserve Fister's shutout bid. Tyler Clippard followed up with a perfect eighth before Harper made it a 4-0 game by cranking a Jean Machi fastball over the high wall in right in the ninth.

The battle-tested Giants didn't go down quietly in their last at-bat, though. Sandoval singled in front of Hunter Pence's double off Storen, though San Francisco managed just one run on Brandon Crawford's sac fly in between a strikeout and Ishikawa's game-ending grounder.

The Giants threatened to score early on off Fister, who surrendered a leadoff single to Sandoval in the bottom of the second and walked Game 2 hero Brandon Belt two batters later. Crawford then hit one to the wall that Harper hauled in at the warning track, and a walk to Ishikawa that loaded the bases amounted to nothing when Fister fanned Bumgarner.

"I thought we had some pretty good at-bats early," said Giants manager Bruce Bochy. "Thought Crawford's ball was in there in the second inning. That's a game changer. Harper made a good play there and he made another good play (later)."

Game Notes

Sandoval went 2-for-4 to extend his postseason hitting streak to 14 games, one shy of the NL record held by Atlanta's Marquis Grissom from 1995-96 ... Bumgarner's 22-inning scoreless streak was the second-longest in Giants' history, trailing only Hall of Famer Christy Mathewson's 28 from 1905-11 ... Fister also fired seven shutout innings to defeat Bumgarner at AT&T Park back on June 10, a 2-1 Washington win ... Denard Span and Anthony Rendon each collected two hits for the Nationals ... The last team to rally from an 0-2 series deficit to win a five-game playoff series was the 2012 Giants in that year's NLDS against Cincinnati.