Anibal Sanchez was unhittable on Friday night in Game 1 of the NLCS against the St. Louis Cardinals. Well, almost. The Washington Nationals’ pitcher, not a flamethrower by any means, set the table with an extraordinary and unexpected performance on the evening that ultimately allowed his team to run out 2-0 winner in St. Louis.
Far from a bad pitcher but not their ace, Sanchez, a free agent pickup from the Braves in the off season, was just superb. He went seven and 2/3 innings, only allowing a single hit and having just one man reach via a walk. He did so by only striking out five batters, too, showing he wasn’t just blowing pitches by guys. On the offensive side of things, it was Howie Kendrick, the hero of the NLDS in Game 5, that stepped up once again. In the second inning, he got himself on base with a big hit, which led to Yan Gomes driving him in with a double. In the seventh inning, it was Kendrick that got the RBI, bringing home Adam Eaton with a single. That was all they needed on this night, giving them a crucial 1-0 advantage in the series.