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Giants stay alive, defeat Reds 2-1 in 10 innings

The Reds had just one hit since the first inning, and the Giants have three hits for the entire game, but a passed ball and an error gave San Francisco a season-saving victory.

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Giants beat Reds 2-1 in 10 innings to stay alive

Despite collecting just one hit in the first nine innings of Game 3, the Giants wound up winning 2-1 with a 10th-inning rally aided by a passed ball and Scott Rolen's error.


Giants take 2-1 lead in 10th, trying to close

In the first nine innings, the Giants collected exactly one hit.

In the top of the 10th, the first two Giants both hit safely. And thanks to a couple of two-out miscues by the Reds, those two hits were enough to finally give them a 2-1 lead in a game they simply must win.

Buster Posey led off the inning with a single, and Hunter Pence snuck a grounder into left field for another. But Jonathan Broxton, the Reds' third relief pitcher in the game, struck out Brandon Belt, and then he struck out Xavier Nady on three pitches. That brought up shortstop Joaquin Arias, who'd pinch hit for Brandon Crawford earlier in the game.

Broxton's first pitch to Arias was a fastball that sailed past catcher Ryan Hanigan for a passed ball, with both runners moving up. And moments later, Arias hit a grounder toward third base that handcuffed Scott Rolen. After fumbling the ball, Rolen did unleash a throw to first base but too late to retire Arias while Posey was crossing the plate with the game's first run since the third inning.

Somewhat oddly, manager Bruce Bochy allowed reliever Sergio Romo to bat for himself -- Romo struck out looking -- but Bochy obviously trusts Romo more than anyone else left in his bullpen to protect a one-run lead.

So we're in the bottom of the 10th, the Giants trying to protect a 2-1 lead and keep their season going.


9 innings not enough, Reds and Giants 1-1 in 10th

The Giants must have been thrilled when Reds starter Homer Bailey got lifted for a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the seventh inning, and eventually that move might work in their favor.

So far, though, not so much. In the eighth inning, Sean Marshall worked around a hit batter and got lucky when a line drive went straight to right fielder Jay Bruce. In the ninth, closer Aroldis Chapman blew the Giants away. And so after nine innings, the Giants still have just one hit.

Also after nine innings, the Giants are still tied with the Reds, one run apiece. Because Cincinnati scored one run in the bottom of the first, and haven't scored since. Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong lasted just five innings, but a quartet of relievers have kept the Reds off the board since then. Most recently, Sergio Romo set the Reds down in order in the bottom of the ninth.

So on we go to the 10th, with the Giants' season on the line. And the odds are against them, since they've already used four of their best relievers and the Reds just two of theirs.


Giants, Reds still deadlocked into 9th

The Reds opened the game with four base runners in the first inning, and it looked like they were going to put another whooping on the Giants' suddenly beleaguered pitching staff. And then suddenly ... it stopped. Everything stopped. All action in the game stopped. No more hits for anyone.

The Giants have one hit. The Reds have one hit since the fourth, and that was an infield hit by Scott Rolen. It's been a slog for both teams offensively, with Homer Bailey and Sean Marshall combining to shut out the Giants, and Ryan Vogelsong, Jeremy Affeldt, Santiago Casilla, and Javier Lopez shutting the Reds down.

Casilla walked Joey Votto. That was exciting for the Reds. But Casilla struck Ryan Ludwick out, and Lopez got Jay Bruce on a first-pitch pop-up.

Other than that? It's as if the teams switched ballparks in some kind of celestial Folger's challenge.

The Giants tried to make some noise in the top of the eighth, sending up a vaunted murderer's row of pinch-hitters for each spot in the last three spots in their lineup. The right-handed troika of Xavier Nady, Joaquin Arias, and Ryan Theriot all went up against the left-handed Marshall, and they were retired quietly.

The succession of pinch-hitters means that backup catcher Hector Sanchez is the last position player on the Giants' bench. Surely, that couldn't be a factor in extra innings, right?


Homer Bailey sets Reds' postseason K record

He's not getting his second no-hitter in 2012.

But in the top of the seventh inning of Game 3, Homer Bailey set a franchise record for strikeouts in a postseason game.

Before tonight, the Cincinnati Reds' record was co-held by Hod Eller, who struck out nine Black Sox in Game 5 of the 1919 World Series (were they even trying?), and Jose Rijo, who struck out nine Athletics in Game 4 of the 1990 World Series.

But with this inning-ending strikeout of Brandon Belt, now Homer Bailey has the record all to himself ...


Bailey will probably have a shot at extending his record, considering he's thrown only 88 pitches. On the other hand, the game's still tied 1-1 and Bailey's due up second in the bottom of the seventh. So that lone run he gave up back in the third might knock him out of the game, four innings later ...


After 6, Giants and Reds still tied 1-1

In the top of the sixth, Homer Bailey lost his no-hitter bid when Marco Scutaro drilled a single past Joey Votto and down the right-field line.

In the bottom of the sixth, the Reds made a modest bid to break Game 2's 1-1 tie, but failed.

In top of the inning, with Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong having thrown 95 pitches, Aubrey Huff pinch-hit for Vogelsong (and struck out). That meant a new pitcher for the Giants, and lefty Jeremy Affeldt got the call.

After a couple of quick outs, Jay Bruce took one for the team and Scott Rolen reached safely on a swinging bunt. Would Bruce Bochy bring in a right-hander to face Ryan Hanigan? Nope. Affeldt isn't just a situational lefty, so he stayed in the game and retired Hanigan on a grounder to end the frame.

So in the top of the 7th inning, the score's still even despite the Giants having just one hit in the whole game.


Homer Bailey's no-hit bid over, game still tied

Marco Scutaro finished the season with a 74-for-73 stretch, and he was one of the Giants' hottest hitters. I don't have the exact numbers, but those are close enough. In the playoffs, though, he was 0-for-10 in the NLDS so far, despite a couple of line-drive outs.

So it's only fitting that he's the one to break up the Homer Bailey no-hitter, knocking a clean single to right field:

If you're thinking Votto was playing pretty far off the bag, that's because he was. The Reds have been employing all sorts of extreme defensive shifts, and the Giants have been hitting the ball right into them all series. There's some office monkey or advanced scout in Cincinnati who deserves a raise. But it can't work every time, and this time the quasi-shift didn't work.

Also of note: With nine strikeouts so far, Homer Bailey has tied the franchise record for strikeouts in a playoff game. The only other two to do it are Jose Rijo (1990) and Hod Eller (1919), the latter of whom was playing against people actively trying to lose. Good company, Giants.


Homer Bailey takes no-hitter bid into 6th inning

The good news is that the Giants aren't losing!

The bad news is that they still don't have a hit off Homer Bailey. And they've had five ups already.

Bailey gave up a run in the third, thanks to a plunking, a walk, a bunt, and a fly ball. But hits? Nope.

In the top of the fifth, Bailey

- struck out Brandon Belt (who broke up Bronson Arroyo's no-hit bid in the fifth inning of Game 2)

- struck out Gregor Blanco; and

- struck out Brandon Crawford.

Oh, and we just remembered ... 11 days ago, Homer Bailey pitched a no-hitter against the Pirates.

Sure, it's early. And what's really important is that the Reds don't even have a lead. But if you're trying to throw a no-hitter, one of the most important things is not giving up any hits in the first five innings. Another important thing is not racking up a big pitch count. Homer Bailey hasn't given up a hit in the first five innings, and he's thrown 65 pitches.

Stay tuned.


Giants getting no-hit through 4 ... again

Homer Bailey got a little wild in the third inning, hitting and walking a batter before the pitcher's spot in the order came up. Vogelsong bunted the runners over, Angel Pagan hit a sac fly, and that's how the Giants are tied.

But while they have a run, here's something they don't have: a hit. And for the second game in a row, the Giants have gone the first four innings without one of those slightly crucial components of good base-balling.

Bronson Arroyo was actually perfect with two outs in the fifth inning of Game 2 before Brandon Belt hit a solid single to break it up. But that was just one of two hits in the game, which means the Giants have exactly two hits over the last 13 innings.

Ryan Vogelsong looks much better after his shaky first inning, retiring the Reds in order in the fourth inning. He's already up to 83 pitches, though, so the Giants are probably looking for six innings from him at this point.


Pagan's sac fly ties Game 2, now 1-1 in 4th

After Ryan Vogelsong came back with a lovely second inning, his San Francisco Giants have tied Game 2, 1-1 in the third.

Reds starter Homer Bailey looked so good in the first two frames -- six Giants up, six Giants down, -- but then he ran into some trouble against the bottom of the Giants' order. First he plunked light-hitting Gregor Blanco, and then he walked light-hitting Brandon Crawford. That brought up a respite in hitting-like-pitcher Vogelsong, who moved the runners up one base apiece with a sacrifice bunt.

And the sacrifice worked when leadoff man Angel Pagan lifted a fly ball to medium-depth center field, plenty deep enough to score fast-running Blanco from third. Bailey got out of the inning when Marco Scutaro grounded out.

Meanwhile, Vogelsong looked shaky once more, issuing consecutive two-out walks to Joey Votto and Ryan Ludwick. Once again, Dave Righetti made his way to the mound. Once again, he discussed pitching things with his pitcher. And with Vogelsong's next pitch, Jay Bruce lifted a high fly ball that Blanco caught while standing astride the left-field line.


Homer Bailey dealing, Reds still up 1-0

There wasn't a great velocity panic with Homer Bailey, even though his two slowest average fastballs came in his last two starts of September. Call me crazy, but maybe that's because one of those games was a no-hitter, so it probably isn't a canary in the coal mine for Bailey's success. But when a fastball is a little shorter at the end of the season, it's not crazy to keep an eye on it.

It's not an issue today. Bailey is sitting at 94, and what's more, the Giants are swinging right through the fastball. Both Pablo Sandoval and Buster Posey, normally excellent fastball hitters, swung through fastballs in the middle of the zone for their strikeouts. Bailey has been pretty lousy at Great American Ballpark this season, but it's hard to allow runs when the ball isn't put in play.

On the other side, Ryan Vogelsong settled down after throwing a week's worth of pitches in the first inning. Ryan Hanigan led off the inning with a seven-pitch at-bat, and ripped a foul down the line, but Hunter Pence made a nice sliding catch for the first out:

Considering the 30 pitches Vogelsong had to throw in the first inning it was a bigger play than it might have seemed.


Jay Bruce's RBI single gives Reds 1-0 lead in 1st

Here we go again.

In the top of the first inning, Homer Bailey set down the San Francisco Giants in order. Ho. Hum.

But in the bottom of the first, the Reds got to a Giants starter, just like they've been getting to Giant starters throughout this National League Division Series.

Brandon Phillips led off and singled. Then he stole second, but was out trying to make it all the way to third when the pitch got away from catcher Buster Posey. So that was a good break for the Giants and starter Ryan Vogelsong. Just not a good enough break. Zack Cozart walked and, after Joey Votto flied out, both Ryan Ludwick and Jay Bruce singled to push Cozart across the plate and place runners on first and second with two outs. Here's Bruce now:


With Scott Rolen up next, pitching coach Dave Righetti came out for a visit. During Rolen's at-bat, Vogelsong and Posey had a little chat. Finally, with his 30 pitch of the first inning, Vogelsong struck out Rolen with a fastball that just might have caught the corner, low and inside.

So, at least he's got that going for him. And it could have been a hell of a lot worse.


NLDS Game 3: Dusty Baker's Game 3 lineup

With the Cincinnati Reds having a chance, Tuesday evening, to sweep the San Francisco Giants in their National League Division Series, Dusty Baker has posted his lineup against Giants right-hander Ryan Vogelsong:

1. Brandon Phillips - 2B
2. Zack Cozart - SS
3. Joey Votto* - 1B
4. Ryan Ludwick - LF
5. Jay Bruce* - RF
6. Scott Rolen - 3B
7. Ryan Hanigan - C
8. Drew Stubbs - CF
9. Homer Bailey - P

Brandon Phillips spent most of the regular season hitting fourth and then third in the Reds' lineup, but finally settled into the leadoff slot in September. Cozart, the Reds' rookie shortstop, batted first for most of the season, but slid to the No. 2 slot after returning in late September from an injury.

Batting orders aside, though, these are exactly the players the Reds wanted in their lineup when the season began. The one wrinkle is that Todd Frazier, probably the Reds' third- or fourth-best hitter, isn't in the lineup. He does give Dusty Baker an attractive option when he needs a pinch-hitter, but since Frazier won't be asked to replace Joey Votto or Jay Bruce, Baker probably won't be able to create a particular advantageous match-up in the late innings.

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