SAN FRANCISCO — After their summer slide and a September stumble, the San Francisco Giants have that old October swagger back.
Every other year, it sure seems to work for manager Bruce Bochy’s boys.
Joe Panik scored the go-ahead run in the seventh inning on Aaron Barrett’s bases-loaded wild pitch, and the Giants edged the Washington Nationals 3-2 Tuesday night to return to the NL Championship Series.
The wild-card Giants, with their cast of rookies and homegrown stars, won 3-1 in the best-of-five Division Series by also scoring on a walk and a groundout. Hunter Pence turned in a defensive gem in right field that helped hold the Nationals at bay as San Francisco won for the 11th time in its last 12 postseason games.
“It’s been a remarkable journey. I wouldn’t trade it for the world,” Pence said. “If it was easy, it wouldn’t be as fun.”
San Francisco travels to St. Louis for Game 1 on Saturday night. It’s a rematch of the 2012 NLCS, when the Giants rallied from a 3-1 deficit to beat the Cardinals on the way to their second World Series championship in three years.