File photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The Braves and Giants kick off their series at AT&T Park.
Finally, the Braves and Giants are ready to commence with their NLDS out in San Francisco. This series has its own intriguing storylines, from Bobby Cox's final run as Atlanta manager to the Giants trying to win their first World Series since Willie Mays roamed the Polo Grounds in 1954. It also features Tim Lincecum's postseason debut, which is reason alone to stay up late tonight.
Nationals fans may also be interested to learn of one player who was left off the Giants' postseason roster: Jose Guillen, who was picked up in midseason after getting dumped by the Royals and wound up playing a significant role down the stretch. Guillen, though, has a disc problem in his neck, and the club determined he couldn't play, so he's off the roster.
NATIONAL LEAGUE DIVISION SERIES — GAME 1
ATLANTA BRAVES at SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS
Where: AT&T Park
TV: TBS Radio: WTEM-980 AM
Weather: Mostly clear, 63 degrees
BRAVES10:02 p.m. -- Welcome to the postseason, Tim Lincecum. Seven batters faced, six outs, the last five via strikeout. It appears The Year of the Pitcher extends into October.
3B Omar Infante
RF Jason Heyward
1B Derrek Lee
C Brian McCann
SS Alex Gonzalez
LF Matt Diaz
2B Brooks Conrad
CF Rick Ankiel
P Derek Lowe
CF Andres Torres
2B Freddy Sanchez
1B Aubrey Huff
C Buster Posey
LF Pat Burrell
SS Juan Uribe
3B Pablo Sandoval
RF Cody Ross
P Tim Lincecum
10:26 p.m. -- Big squandered opportunity for the Giants in the bottom of the third. They had runners on first and third with one out when Freddy Sanchez went way out of the strike zone to tap a comebacker to Lowe. Cody Ross got caught off third base and wound up in a rundown. The only saving grace was that Ross managed to extend the rundown long enough to allow the trailing runners to advance to second and third and keep the rally alive. But then Aubrey Huff struck out to end the inning and keep this game scoreless through three.
10:50 p.m. -- The Martin Prado injury looks like it could have a major negative effect on the Braves. With Prado out, Omar Infante has to play third base and Brooks Conrad has to play second. Well, Conrad has an error and Prado just put forth a less-than-spectacular effort on Cody Ross' grounder to his left. Gotta think Prado makes that play. Instead, the Giants take a 1-0 lead. And the way Lincecum is pitching so far (one hit through four innings), that one run might just hold up for the entire night.
11:08 p.m. -- This is going to sound crazy, but Lincecum might just be as dominant or even more dominant tonight than Roy Halladay was yesterday. He gave up that leadoff double to open the game. Since then, he's allowed only one other Brave to reach base (on a walk) and now has nine strikeouts through six innings. Just slicing and dicing his way through the Atlanta lineup. Three absolute masterpiece pitching performances so far through six games this postseason: Cliff Lee, Halladay and now Lincecum. Love it.
11:34 p.m. -- The Nats got to see Johnny Venters plenty this season, and now the Giants are seeing the lefty reliever up close and personal. This guy is just filthy. Still 1-0 as they head to the eighth, with Lincecum cruising along and having tied the Giants franchise record for strikeouts in a postseason game with 10. Something tells me he's going to break that record before night's end.
11:40 p.m. -- What do you know, Lincecum strikes out Ankiel for No. 11 and a new franchise postseason record.
11:43 p.m. -- OK, dilemma time for Bruce Bochy. Lincecum is at 105 pitches through eight spectacular innings. Do you pull him in favor of closer Brian Wilson for the ninth, or do you let him finish it out? I just don't see how you can pull him at this point. He has shown no signs of tiring or faltering. Let him finish what he started.
11:55 p.m. -- Here we go: Lincecum coming back out for the ninth, up 1-0. Top of the Braves order due up.
12:02 a.m. -- Incredible. Simply incredible. Lincecum goes the distance and beats the Braves 1-0. His final line: 9 ip, 2 h, 0 r, 1 bb, 14 k. Even more incredible: Cliff Lee struck out 10 and walked none yet was the author of only the third-best pitching performance of the last two days. What a start to this postseason. Not that I enjoy quoting Jim Bowden, but the man was right: Pitching, pitching, pitching.