The Cincinnati Reds pitching staff sliced and diced the San Francisco Giants offense on Tuesday night, but some tenth inning miscues by the Reds handed the Giants a run on a silver platter, giving them a 2-1 win. The Reds still lead the series two games to one.
The main story of this game was Homer Bailey's dominance for the Reds. In seven innings of work, Bailey allowed just one run on one hit to the Giants, walking one and striking out ten. He threw 5 2/3 no-hit innings but yeah, San Francisco got a third inning run. In the third, Bailey hit Gregor Blanco to lead the inning off and then walked eighth place hitter Brandon Crawford, never a likely feat. Blanco and Crawford were bunting into scoring position by Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong, and Angel Pagan brought Blanco home with a sac fly to tie the game at one.
But how did the Reds get their first run? Well, they took advantage of Vogelsong's downward spiral in the first inning. Brandon Phillips led the inning off with a single, and moved up to second on a wild pitch. He tried to go to third and was thrown out by Buster Posey in what would end up being a huge out in the game. Zach Cozart would walk, and after a Joey Votto fly out, Ryan Ludwick and Jay Bruce followed with back to back singles to make it a 1-0 game…a game that should have been 2-0 if not for Phillips' sloppy baserunning.
Aside from those two innings, the game was pretty pitching oriented. The Reds put two on with two out in the third against Vogelsong and in the sixth against Jeremy Affeldt, and got nothing. But in the tenth, the Giants took advantage of a pair of singles to lead off the inning against Jonathan Broxton by Posey and Hunter Pence. After Broxton struck out the next two hitters, a key wild pitch allowed the Giants baserunners to advance. Joaquin Arias hit a chopper to Scott Rolen for the third out of the inning, except for the normally surehanded Rolen bobbling the ball and firing late to first, allowing Posey to score to give the Giants a 2-1 lead, and eventually, the win.
The Giants had no business winning this game after picking up just one hit in nine innings. But then again, that's why they play the team. Reds pitchers tallied 16 strikeouts and just one walk all game, and they lost because their offense couldn't get anything going either. Neither team had an extra base hit, they combined to go 1/9 with runners in scoring position, and stranded 11 runners between them both…but the Giants took advantage of Cincinnati's mistakes, and their season will continue for another day.
Game four will be Wednesday in Cinncinati, and first pitch is scheduled for 4:07 PM. Barry Zito is scheduled to start for the Giants, and Johnny Cueto *was* scheduled to get the nod for the Reds, but they don't know if Cueto will be ready for game four. If not, Reds manager Dusty Baker has two options: he can activate Mike Leake for tomorrow's start, meaning that Cueto (or whoever else would be deactivated from the Division Series roster) would be unable to return until a potential Reds World Series trip, or he can start Mat Latos, who threw four innings on Saturday after Cueto got hurt, on three days rest. It'll be a difficult and interesting decision for the Reds, and one that the rest of their season could potentially hinge on.