Madison Bumgarner delivers a shutout as Giants roll past Pirates in NL Wild Card Game

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The Nationals will meet the Giants in the NLDS.

Madison Bumgarner dominated over nine shutout innings and Brandon Crawford hit a grand slam as San Francisco cruised to an easy 8-0 victory over the host Pirates on Wednesday night in Pittsburgh.

PNC Park was rocking early on, with most of the 40,000-plus fans dressed up in black for the Steel City’s second straight National League Wild Card Game, but Bucs starter Edinson Volquez struggled out of the gate and the Giants broke through in the top of the fourth inning when Crawford slugged a belt-high hanging curveball over the 21-foot right field wall for a grand slam. It was the first postseason grand slam by a shortstop in major league history. And the blacked-shirted crowd — which set a PNC Park attendance record — soon took on the look of a funeral.

The Giants added to their lead on RBI singles from first baseman Brandon Belt in the sixth and seventh innings, and then catcher Buster Posey put the icing on the cake with an RBI single in the top of the eighth.

Now the Giants move on to Washington, D.C., where they’ll begin a best-of-five against the Nats on Friday.

The Giants have won seven straight elimination games, dating back to 2010.

This is a dangerous, battle-tested October baseball team.

Astros’ Verlander to have elbow surgery, miss rest of season

Justin Verlander
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Houston Astros ace Justin Verlander will undergo Tommy John surgery and miss the rest of the season.

The reigning AL Cy Young Award winner announced the news Saturday on his Instagram account in a 1½-minute video.

“In my simulated game a couple days ago, I felt something in my elbow, and after looking at my MRI and conversing with some of the best doctors in the world, we’ve determined that Tommy John surgery is my best option,” Verlander said.

He threw to hitters on Wednesday for the first time since he was injured in the team’s opener on July 24. He threw 50 pitches in the bullpen before throwing about 25 pitches to hitters in two simulated innings.

“I tried as hard as I could to come back and play this season,” Verlander said. “Unfortunately, my body just didn’t cooperate.”

Verlander has been on the injured list with a right forearm strain. He went 21-6 with a 2.58 ERA in 2019.

“Obviously, this is not good news,” Verlander said. “However, I’m going to handle this the only way I know how. I’m optimistic. I’m going to put my head down, work hard, attack this rehab and hopefully, come out the other side better for it.

“I truly believe everything that everything happens for a reason, and although 2020 has sucked, hopefully, when this rehab process is all said and done, this will allow me to charge through the end of my career and be healthy as long as I want and pitch as long as I want and accomplish some of the goals that I want in my career.”