WASHINGTON — Put Jake Peavy on the Giants, and he suddenly turns into quite a postseason performer.
Same for a couple of rookies, Hunter Strickland and Joe Panik.
Seems the October aura manager Bruce Bochy has cultivated with the Giants rubs off on anyone joining the club.
The intense Peavy took a no-hitter into the fifth, Strickland and the rest of rested bullpen barely protected a lead, and the wild-card Giants won their league-record ninth consecutive postseason game by beating Stephen Strasburg and the Nationals 3-2 Friday in an NL Division Series opener.
"Nobody is scared of the moment," said Peavy, who won the 2007 NL Cy Young Award with San Diego and last year's World Series with Boston but was 0-3 with a 9.27 ERA in five previous starts beyond the regular season. "We understand that we might not be, man for man, the favorites."
Peavy, the 33-year-old right-hander with the tattoo sleeve on his left arm, earned his first postseason win, allowing two hits in 5⅔ scoreless innings.
Strickland spent much of the season at A and Double A in the minors, and has all of seven major-league innings on his resume, but he struck out Ian Desmond swinging at a 100 mph fastball with the bases loaded in the sixth after Peavy left, cussing up a storm.
Panik provided a nice defensive play at second to end the seventh and contributed one of San Francisco's three RBI singles.
Under Bochy, the Giants won the World Series in 2010 and 2012. They have not lost a postseason game since trailing 3-1 against St. Louis in the NLCS two years ago. "We've done it so many times now, it seems to be part of our DNA," said Hunter Pence, who stole a base in the fourth and came home on Brandon Belt's hit off Strasburg.
Strasburg took the loss in his playoff debut; he was shut down in 2012 to protect his surgically repaired elbow. "He gave us a chance," manager Matt Williams said of Strasburg's performance Friday. "Jake was a little bit better."