Jordan Zimmermann was nearly untouchable deep into the ninth inning. The right-hander, who no-hit the Marlins to end his regular season, limited the Giants to just three singles and was on his way to tossing a “Maddux” — a complete game shutout on fewer than 100 pitches (hat tip to @JasonLukehart for coining the term).
One out away from the shutout, Zimmermann walked Giants second baseman Joe Panik on five pitches, his first walk of the evening. Rather than let his starter finish the job, Nationals manager Matt Williams decided to bring in closer Drew Storen. Storen was lights out in the final month of the season after usurping the closer’s role from the struggling Rafael Soriano. Storen, however, last pitched in the post-season in Game 5 of the 2012 NLDS, when he allowed four runs in an inning of work against the Cardinals.
Storen was greeted with a single to left-center by Buster Posey, moving the tying run into scoring position. Shortly thereafter, Pablo Sandoval sliced a line drive down the left field line, easily allowing Panik to score. Posey was in overdrive, so third base coach Tim Flannery decided to send Posey home. Left fielder Bryce Harper relayed the throw into shortstop Ian Desmond, who fired home to catcher Wilson Ramos. Ramos applied the tag to Posey, it appeared, just before his foot touched the plate. Home plate umpire Vic Carapazza ruled Posey out, ending the inning.
The play, however, was reviewed. It was very, very close, but the tag did indeed appear to have been applied to Posey just in the nick of time. Further, the umpires need to see overwhelming evidence in order to overturn the initial ruling, and there wasn’t any, it was that close.
Sergio Romo took the hill for the Giants in the bottom half of the ninth. He set Desmond, Harper, and Ramos down in order to send Game 2 of the NLDS into extra innings, which is incredible considering the Nationals were one out away from evening up the series.
The 2014 post-season is crazy, folks.