Video: Brandon Belt homers to break a 1-1 tie in the 18th inning


You’ll be seeing this one for a while. The Giants and Nationals went 18 innings, matching the Braves and Astros in Game 4 of the 2005 NLDS for the longest game in post-season history. (Technically, if you count the two extra outs the Giants recorded that the Braves couldn’t because of Chris Burke’s walk-off home run, Saturday night’s game went longer.) Brandon Belt ended hours of offensive futility when he sent a misplaced Tanner Roark fastball over the fence in left field, putting the Giants up 2-1.

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Hunter Strickland came on in relief in the bottom half of the inning and finished off the win for the Giants, putting them up 2-0 in the NLDS over the Nationals. Now the series moves to the other side of the country, as Game 3 (and four, if necessary) will take place in San Francisco starting on Monday.

Japanese Baseball to begin June 19

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Japanese League commissioner Atsushi Saito announced that Japan’s professional baseball season will open on June 19. Teams can being practice games on June 2. There will be no fans. Indeed, the league has not yet even begun to seriously discuss a plan for fans to begin attending games, though that may happen eventually.

The season will begin three months after its originally scheduled opening day of March 20. It will be 120 games long. Teams in each six-team league — the Central League and Pacific League — will play 24 games against each league opponent. There will be no interleague play and no all-star game.

The announcement came in the wake of a national state of emergency being lifted for both Tokyo and the island of Hokkaido. The rest of the country emerged from the state of emergency earlier this month. This will allow the Japanese leagues to follow leagues in South Korea and Taiwan which have been playing for several weeks.

In the United States, Major League Baseball is hoping to resume spring training in mid June before launching a shortened regular season in early July. That plan is contingent on the league and the players’ union coming to an agreement on both financial arrangements and safety protocols for a 2020 season. Negotiations on both are ongoing. Major League Baseball will, reportedly, make a formal proposal about player compensation tomorrow.