The San Francisco Giants did it again on Friday, winning another October game they weren’t supposed to. In a tightly contested Game 1 of the National League Division Series, the Giants beat the top-seeded Washington Nationals on the road, 3-2, and earned their ninth straight postseason victory overall, dating back to 2012.

With that, only four teams—and just two franchises—have won more playoff games in a row in Major League Baseball history:

And so the Giants are showing yet again that they can never be counted out in October.

Whether or not you buy into the whole #EvenYear voodoo they have going on, it sure feels like the Giants are going to follow up 2010 and 2012 with 2014, doesn’t it?

It felt that way during Friday’s win, especially considering San Francisco sent noted playoff goat Jake Peavy to the mound against Nationals stud Stephen Strasburg.

But despite this…

…this happened:

Having come over in a July trade from the Boston Red Sox, the 33-year-old Peavy finally got his first October win in his sixth postseason start and 13th season in the majors.

The righty worked the corners of the strike zone up and down, left and right, allowing just five baserunners (two hits and three walks) in 5.2 scoreless innings, tying the longest outing of his playoff career.

San Francisco’s lineup was far from a force, but it dinked and dunked Strasburg to death in his first-ever October outing, managing eight hits off him—all singles—many of which were back up the middle and of the seeing-eye variety.

The Giants put together a good plan of attack and proceeded to execute it with pesky at-bats, which is how they were able to be the first team to notch an earned run off Strasburg, who struck out just two, since Sept. 10.

And so despite this…

…this happened:

Meanwhile, San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy was ready to go to the bullpen as Peavy started to tire in the sixth inning when he gave up a leadoff double and a walk in the span of four batters. Good call, especially given Peavy’s tendency to get knocked around on his third time through the order this year.

In came lefty specialist Javier Lopez to face Adam LaRoche, who posted a .620 OPS against same-sided pitchers in 2014. Except Lopez, who held lefty hitters to a .538 OPS and walked just six in 108 plate appearances this year, issued a free pass to the first baseman to load the bases with two outs. 

Getting the call? None other than 26-year-old rookie Hunter Strickland, a hard-throwing right-hander who had made his MLB debut only a month and two days ago.

Surely this had to be the reckoning, the turning of the tides, yes?

Up stepped Ian Desmond, and despite this…

…this happened:

Although he surrendered a pair of solo home runs in the bottom of the seventh—one an absolute mammoth third-deck blast by Bryce Harper—Strickland still turned the game over to left-hander Jeremy Affeldt, who polished off the frame to keep the Giants ahead.

The Nationals, of course, would get no closer, as the score finished just that way, 3-2, thanks to Sergio Romo and Santiago Casilla, the former closer and his replacement.

As Romo said afterward, via Chris Haft of

I think we tapped into our postseason experience. There’s that little extra thing in our chemistry—that focus, that determination—that separates postseason games from regular-season games. Everything seems to matter in the playoffs. We’ve had our backs against the wall in tough environments against tough pitching and tough lineups. It enables us to stick together.

Now San Francisco heads into Saturday’s Game 2 in Washington having snatched home-field advantage. While struggling veteran Tim Hudson is on the hill, it almost feels like it doesn’t matter how he fares. Even if Hudson pitches like he has all second half (4.73 ERA, 1.45 WHIP), the Giants still could come up with a way to win.

And if they don’t? Well, it’s still no biggie: Ace Madison Bumgarner—he of the complete-game, four-hit shutout to defeat the Pittsburgh Pirates in Wednesday’s Wild Card Game—is all geared up for Game 3 back in San Francisco.

One way or another, it seems, even-yeared Octobers have a way of falling in the Giants’ favor.

Fellow Bleacher Report MLB Lead Writer Zachary D. Rymer shared a thought about the magical recipe:

Can it really be that simple? Not quite, because that’s taking credit away from the Giants themselves and what they managed to do in 2010 and 2012, and what they quite possibly could do in 2014.

But heck, they certainly make it seem that easy, don’t they?

It’s October, which means the Giants are showing yet again they can’t be counted out. They’re showing that despite all the doubters and the critics and the supposed-to’s, this is, in fact, happening.


Statistics are accurate through Oct. 3 and courtesy of MLB.comBaseball-Reference and FanGraphs, unless otherwise noted.

To talk baseball or fantasy baseball, check in with me on Twitter: @JayCat11.

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