ST. LOUIS — 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 Sunday in an NL playoff opener.
The Nationals, who had never 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.
The NL East champion Nationals led the majors with 98 wins this season, and brought postseason baseball to Washington for the first time since 1933.
TIGERS 5, ATHLETICS 4
In Detroit, a dropped fly, two wild pitches and a little smooch for the baseball by a relieved reliever.
Then Don Kelly brought it all to an end with a simple fly ball.
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 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.
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.
It was the sixth consecutive postseason loss for the A’s, all to Detroit.
REDS 5, GIANTS 2
In San Francisco, Sam LeCure, Mat Latos and three
other relievers shut down
San Francisco after Cincinnati lost ace Johnny Cueto in the first inning with a back injury, and the Reds were powered by home runs from Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce to beat the Giants in Game 1 of their NL Division Series.
Phillips hit a two-run homer in the third and Bruce added a solo drive leading off the fourth.
San Francisco’s Matt Cain allowed his first career postseason earned runs after going untouched during the Giants’ improbable World Series season of 2010.