Jeff Roberson/Associated Press
Jeff Roberson/Associated Press
Rookies in the postseason, the Washington Nationals played like poised veterans.
The Nationals escaped a bases-loaded jam in the seventh inning, pinch hitter Tyler Moore blooped a two-out, two-run single in the eighth and Washington beat the defending World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals 3-2 on Sunday for a 1-0 series lead.
The Nationals, who hadn’t come close to making the playoffs since moving from Montreal for the 2005 season, overcame a wild start by 21-game winner Gio Gonzalez.
Reliever Ryan Mattheus needed just two pitches to bail out the Nationals in the seventh with St. Louis ahead 2-1. Tyler Clippard worked around an error in the eighth, and Drew Storen saved it with a 1-2-3 ninth.
St. Louis wasted a 10-strikeout gem by Adam Wainwright, failing to capitalize enough on Gonzalez’s career high-tying seven walks and frustrating its towel-waving fans.
Rookie shortstop Pete Kozma misplayed Michael Morse’s grounder for an error to open the eighth and set up the Nationals’ go-ahead rally. Ian Desmond followed with a single off Mitchell Boggs for his third hit of the game, putting runners at the corners.
Danny Espinsoa sacrificed, leaving runners at second and third, and Kurt Suzuki struck out. In a series of moves, the Nationals sent up Chad Tracy to pinch hit, the Cardinals switched to lefty Marc Rzepczynski, and Washington subbed in Moore, who had two of their three pinch homers this season.
Moore poked an outside pitch to right field, and both runners scored easily.
Tigers 5, Athletics 4
DETROIT – Don Kelly scored the tying run on a wild pitch in the eighth inning, then hit a bases-loaded sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth that lifted Detroit over the Oakland for a 2-0 lead in their AL playoff series.
Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera doubled twice for the Tigers, hit a fly ball that resulted in a two-run error and later singled in the ninth.
Detroit will go for a sweep of the division series matchup in Game 3 on Tuesday at Oakland.
The Tigers overcame three A’s leads and seesawed to victory. It was 1-all before a wild final three innings that included a big Oakland misplay, two game-tying wild pitches and several momentum changes.
Yankees 7, Orioles 2
BALTIMORE – Russell Martin led off the ninth inning with a tiebreaking home run off Jim Johnson, CC Sabathia turned in a sparkling pitching performance, and the New York Yankees beat Baltimore in the opener of their AL divisional series.
Sabathia allowed two runs and eight hits in 8 2/3 innings to help the Yankees spoil the Orioles’ first home playoff game since 1997. The left-hander went 0-2 in three starts against Baltimore during the regular season.
With the score 2-all, Martin drove a 2-0 pitch from Johnson into the left-field seats. It was the first of four consecutive hits off Johnson, who led the majors with 51 saves.
Reds 9, Giants 0
SAN FRANCISCO – Bronson Arroyo retired his first 14 batters and delivered a gem a day after 19-game winner Johnny Cueto went down with a back injury, and Cincinnati beat San Francisco to head home with a 2-0 division series lead.
A pair of Ryans provided the big hits. Ryan Ludwick homered leading off the second inning for his first career playoff clout, and Ryan Hanigan hit a two-run single in the fourth and a late RBI single. Jay Bruce added a two-run double, and Joey Votto had three hits.
Paul Sancya/Associated Press
Patrick Semansky/Associated Press
Paul Kitagaki Jr./Sacramento Bee