If your name is Brandon and you play for the San Francisco Giants, then yesterday was a great day for you.
Not only did the Brandon's team win its one-game Wild Card playoff to advance to the National League Division Series, but Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford combined for seven runs batted in.
Edinson Volquez and Madison Bumgarner were shadowing each other through the first three innings, shutting down their opponent. In the top of the fourth, Brandon Crawford hit a deep fly ball to right field, appearing to be a sacrifice fly. It wasn't. The ball kept carrying, and before you knew it, Crawford was circling the bases, providing the Giants a 4-0 lead.
Crawford became the first shortstop in major league history to hit a grand slam in the postseason.
That 4-0 lead was what all Madison Bumgarner needed. He looked locked in from the start, and while his composure definitely got better throughout the game, so did he. Bumgarner gave the Giants bullpen a day of rest. He tossed a complete game shutout, allowing four hits, and striking out ten.
Brandon Belt got on the board in the sixth with an RBI single that scored Hunter Pence. He added to the Giants lead again in the seventh with a two-RBI single, scoring Buster Posey and Pablo Sandoval. Then, Buster Posey wrapped up the scoring with a single to center, plating Gregor Blanco.
As for Edinson Volquez, yesterday was far from perfect. He went five innings, allowed five hits, five earned runs, struck out three, and walked three. It is hard to know if manager Clint Hurdle had used Gerrit Cole in tonight's game it would have been any different. Cole pitched on Sunday, therefore was not rested, to try to clinch the division crown.
The Giants looked really good last night, but they now have to face the Washington Nationals, my World Series prediction, in the NLDS. It's going to be a very tough series, especially since they cannot have Madison Bumgarner pitching game one. The Giants have won World Series championships in 2010 and 2012, so we will see if they can rise to the challenge in another even year.
Giants 8, Pirates 0