In a week that’s offered plenty in the way of high-quality postseason pitching—Corey Kluber’s virtuoso performance yesterday afternoon, Noah Syndergaard and Madison Bumgarner’s wild card duel—Johnny Cueto put up perhaps the best line of them all last night.
Eight innings with 10 strikeouts, no walks, three hits. That’s a Game Score of 82 (context: just behind Bumgarner’s 83 from Wednesday and ahead of Syndergaard’s 80 and Kluber’s 75, as well as the 77 put up by Cueto’s Friday opponent Jon Lester). And, ultimately, it was all for naught.
The Chicago Cubs’ Lester wasn’t quite as lights-out, but he was just as effective—holding the Giants scoreless through his eight innings of work, albeit with a line a bit less flashy than Cueto’s. The difference, then, came in the Cubs’ ability to take advantage of one Cueto mistake, and the Giants’ failure to do the same with Lester. A full-count Cueto fastball right over the middle of the plate to second baseman Javier Baez in the eighth inning...
...was all that it took. Baez’s solo shot broke the scoreless tie, and though the Giants threatened to get something going off of Cubs closer Aroldis Chapman with a double from Buster Posey in the ninth, they couldn’t make it happen. The Cubs walked away with the 1-0 victory, and the Giants will do their best to even the series in Game Two tonight.