Baggs' Instant Replay: Giants survive, force Game 4 (10 inn.)

October 10, 2012, 1:21 am
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CINCINNATI They couldnt catch up to fastballs. They managed one hit through nine innings. They emptied their bench early. Once again, they didnt get an out from their starting pitcher beyond the fifth.

They survived.

The Giants did not burn brightly Tuesday night, but they did not let the flame die out. Ryan Vogelsong and four relievers matched an unbelievable performance from Homer Bailey, and the Giants literally limped out a run in the 10th to take a 2-1 victory in Game 3 of their NL Division Series at Great American Ball Park.

Buster Posey and Hunter Pence singled off Reds right-hander Jonathan Broxton, both advanced on a passed ball with two outs and third baseman Scott Rolen couldnt make a clean stop of Joaquin Arias short-hop grounder.

It took 28 innings, but the Giants took their first lead of the series as Posey scored.

Sergio Romo protected that lead with his second scoreless inning of the night, and now Barry Zito will run the next leg Wednesday night as the Giants try to sweep three games in Cincinnati to win this best-of-5 series.

Starting pitching report
It isnt easy to match a guy throwing a no-hitter. Vogelsong found a way to do it.

Despite a jittery first inning in which Vogelsong allowed four of the first five batters to reach, the feisty right-hander found his edge and did not yield the rest of the way.

He did not allow a hit after the first inning while retiring 13 of his final 15 batters. The only exceptions came with two outs in the third, when he refused to split the dish on 3-2 pitches and issued walks to Joey Votto and Ryan Ludwick.

Its a dangerous way to operate, especially against a Reds lineup that offers no courtesy outs. But Vogelsong had to throw every pitch like it could be fatal, since that was the situation the Giants were in. He got Jay Bruce to fly out to end that third-inning threat.

Vogelsong had to labor in a 30-pitch first inning, though. Brandon Phillips, who was 7 for 14 against him entering the game, singled to start the rally. He had second base stolen on a pitch to Zack Cozart, and tried for more when Posey whiffed on the pitch while rising from his crouch.

It ended up being a huge break for the Giants, as Posey collected the rebound off the backstop and third baseman Pablo Sandoval tagged Phillips on the arm.

Without that break, the Reds might have put together a huge inning. They still managed a run after a couple of smart, patient at-bats. Cozart walked, Ludwick singled up the middle and Bruce didnt try to do too much with a 2-1 curveball, yanking it into right field for an RBI single.

It was the Reds last hit off Vogelsong. He threw a 2-2 pitch to Scott Rolen that wasnt good enough for plate umpire Gerry Davis, so the right-hander came back with another on the inside corner that froze the veteran third baseman.

Vogelsongs final line: Five innings, three hits, one run (earned), three walks, five strikeouts and 95 pitches.

Sure, Vogelsong could have been more economical and pitched deeper into the game. But you dont think about pitch efficiency with a season on the line.

Aubrey Huff pinch hit for Vogelsong and struck out to lead off the sixth.

Bullpen report
Jeremy Affeldt is a free agent after this season. He just made himself some money.

Affeldt didnt give up one hard-hit ball in two shutout innings. He pitched around a hit batter and an infield single in the sixth, then worked a clean seventh.

Santiago Casilla and Javier Lopez made it unscathed through the eighth, and Romo handled the ninth.

Tim Lincecum warmed up in the top of the 10th, but Romo hit for himself after the Giants took the lead.

At the plate
And to think Bailey wasnt supposed to start a game in this NL Division Series.

The hard-throwing 26-year-old from Texas didnt trick the Giants while striking out 10 in seven, one-hit innings. He simply threw his explosive fastball, threw enough sliders to keep an honest house and watched the Giants fail to catch up.

Bailey, who threw a no-hitter against the Pittsburgh Pirates just 12 days earlier, nearly ran that box score through the ditto machine. He didnt allow a hit until Marco Scutaro grounded a single down the first base line with two outs in the sixth.

The Giants had to manufacture their run in the third inning when Gregor Blanco was hit by a pitch, advanced on Brandon Crawfords walk, took third on Vogelsongs sacrifice bunt and scored on Angel Pagans sacrifice fly to center field.

Bailey didnt feel the need to mix things up the second or third time through the lineup. His fastball was enough to subdue the Giants. He threw fastball or slider on all but two of his 88 pitches a first-pitch curve to Crawford in the fifth and a changeup to Brandon Belt in the seventh.

Even the NLs batting champion couldnt touch Bailey. Buster Posey struck out twice and grounded out against him. Poseys whiff in the fourth was the first of six consecutive strikeouts tying the Reds postseason record also held by Hod Eller in Game 5 of the 1919 World Series. (This time, Mr. Rothstein didnt have any Giants on the take.)

If you think its rare to strike out 10 on just 88 pitches, youre right. It was done only twice by a major league pitcher this season the Pirates' James McDonald and the Nationals Jordan Zimmermann. (No, neither of those games were against the Giants.)

It didnt get much better in the next two innings. Bochy emptied his bench in the eighth against left-hander Sean Marshall, but pinch hitters Xavier Nady, Joaquin Arias and Ryan Theriot went down in order. Reds closer Aroldis Chapman hit 100 mph on five of his 15 pitches in the ninth while striking out two.

But Broxton blinked in the 10th. Posey singled to right field and Pence appeared to strain his calf or cramp up after fouling off a pitch. He stayed in the game and hobbled to first base after grounding a single through the left side. The Giants only had Hector Sanchez left on their bench, and so they couldnt pinch run for him.

Broxton struck out Belt and Nady, but a passed ball advanced the runners with Arias at the plate. And as Bochy often says, good things have a chance to happen when you put a ball in play.

Arias did that, and third baseman Scott Rolen couldnt make a clean stop of a short-hop grounder. It bounced off his chest for an error as Arias barely beat the throw.

It took 28 innings, but the Giants finally claimed their first lead of the series.

In field
Pence made a fine, sliding catch near the right field foul line on Ryan Hanigans foul fly in the second inning.

That was the top play in what otherwise was a clean game for both teams. Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips, despite appearing to injure his calf in an at-bat in the fifth inning, had no problem making a smothering stop of Angel Pagans hard grounder in the sixth. The ground out ended Homer Baileys streak of six consecutive strikeouts, but Pagan hit it in the vicinity of the wrong Reds defender.

The Reds announced 44,501 paid. And they like Homer Bailey a lot.

Up next
Its not the couch, the golf course or Aruba. Not yet, anyway.

The Giants and Reds meet in Game 4 Wednesday, with left-hander Barry Zito against a starting pitcher to be announced. Its likely to be Mat Latos, although Cincinnati reporters wrote that the big right-hander was battling the flu on Tuesday.

Game 1 starter Johnny Cueto was diagnosed with a strained oblique and is likely to be replaced on the roster.

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