Baggs' Instant Replay: Reds 2, Giants 1


Baggs' Instant Replay: Reds 2, Giants 1

SAN FRANCISCO Mat Latos still hates the Giants. And he loves to beat them.

The former foil from San Diego found AT&T Park to his liking once again Saturday afternoon. Latos pitched the Cincinnati Reds second consecutive complete game, taking a one-hit shutout into the eighth inning before escaping with a 2-1 victory over the Giants.

Barry Zito walked six but nearly kept pace with Latos while holding the Reds to one run in six innings.

The Giants only managed one baserunner Brandon Crawfords third-inning double against Latos until the ninth, when pinch hitter Brandon Belt tripled and scored on a ground out. But Latos struck out Ryan Theriot to beat the Giants for the second time this season. He also threw seven shutout innings April 24 at Cincinnati.

At least now Latos pitches for a team outside the NL West, so the Giants wont have to tangle with him again in the regular season.

Starting pitching report

Zito (6-6) issued six walks in six innings, but one was intentional and he wasnt missing by much. With his defense making plays behind him, Zito only allowed one run while posting his ninth quality start of the season.

He helped himself in the second inning, after Pablo Sandovals throwing error allowed Jay Bruce to take second base following an infield single. Zito fielded Ryan Ludwicks comebacker and alertly turned to get Bruce caught in a rundown.

The Reds were noticeably more patient the second time through the lineup. After Brandon Phillips singled, Zito issued consecutive two-out walks to Ludwick, Todd Frazier and Ryan Hanigan to force in a run.

Zito wasnt exactly all over the place, and the crowd sensed it. Even when he went 2-0 to Hanigan with the bases loaded, the fans responded with cheers of encouragement instead of the usual boos of derision. When Hanigan walked, the jeers seemed to be directed more at plate umpire Dale Scott than Zito.

Zito escaped the inning when he threw a 2-2 curve past Latos.

The left-hander needed some luck in the fifth after walking the first two batters. Sandoval made charging pickup of Joey Vottos dribbler and his throw to first base was in time only because the former MVP limped down the line.

(Votto was replaced by Miguel Cairo at first base in the bottom of the inning; the Reds reported that he had an inflamed left knee and was removed as a precaution.)

After an intentional walk to Brandon Phillips loaded the bases, Zito benefited from another lucky break. Bruce hit a spinning liner off the end of the bat to shortstop Brandon Crawford, and Stubbs got a bad read on it. Crawford flipped to Ryan Theriot for an easy double play.

Bullpen report

George Kontos allowed a run on two hits in the seventh inning, but his relief mates picked him up. Javier Lopez struck out Bruce while contributing his 14th consecutive scoreless appearance.

Then Brad Penny made his 2012 Giants debut, locating a 2-2 cutter on the outside corner to freeze Ludwick to end the inning.

Penny proceeded to retire the next six hitters in order.

At the plate

Latos nearly threw a perfect game at AT&T Park two years ago. He came darn close again.

On May 13, 2010, Latos outdueled Jonathan Sanchez in a 1-0 victory for the San Diego Padres. Only an Eli Whiteside infield single kept Latos from perfection.

This time, Latos completed eight innings and only allowed a third-inning double by Brandon Crawford down the left field line. Crawford was the only Giant to hit the ball hard off Latos. He also lined out in the sixth inning.

Other than that, they hit a bunch of lazy flies and routine grounders.

Belt made noise in the ninth with a pinch triple to the deepest reaches of right-center field in the ninth and scored on Gregor Blancos ground out to break up the shutout.

But Scotts strike zone got suddenly cavernous against Theriot, who took two borderline pitches and Latos notched a complete game with a called fastball on his 115th pitch.

In field

Sandoval committed an error but otherwise put on a Gold Glove display. He made a diving stop to rob Phillips of a single in the second inning but made his most impressive play in the seventh, when he laid out to catch Stubbs popped-up bunt attempt near the mound. Sandoval, who apparently got the wind knocked out of him while landing hard on the turf, stayed down for a minute but remained in the game.


The Giants announced 42,135 paid -- the 125th consecutive regular-season sellout at AT&T Park. The giveaway was one of four bobbleheads depicting players from the 2002 World Series team: Barry Bonds, Jeff Kent, J.T. Snow, Kirk Rueter or Robb Nen. (Chad Zerbe sold separately.)

Up next

The Giants finish their seven-game homestand as well as their season series with the Reds with a Sunday afternoon game. Right-hander Ryan Vogelsong (7-3, 2.23) looks to continue his All-Star caliber first half against right-hander Bronson Arroyo (3-5, 4.13), who took a no-hitter into the eighth inning in his previous outing.

How Cubs beat Kershaw to move on to World Series

How Cubs beat Kershaw to move on to World Series

Two quick runs off the best pitcher on the planet on Saturday night afforded the Cubs exactly what they needed to snap a 71-year-old drought.

Already confident after consecutive offensive outbursts in the previous two games, a two-run first inning against Clayton Kershaw had Cubs hitters in a positive frame of mind.

They rode the surprising rally and a dominant performance by Kyle Hendricks to a 5-0 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers at Wrigley Field in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series. The win earned the Cubs their first NL pennant since 1945 and on Tuesday night they’ll seek their first World Series title since 1908 when they face the Cleveland Indians in Game 1.

“It’s huge for the confidence, the positive momentum from LA, to carry over back home,” left fielder Ben Zobrist said. “Those were the biggest moments in the game early on to help everybody keep pushing and that we got this thing -- that we’re in charge of the game early. That’s a huge momentum builder.”

The Cubs did a little bit of everything in the first inning against Kershaw, who dominated them for seven scoreless frames in a 1-0 Dodgers victory in Game 2 on Sunday night. Some hitters took a more aggressive approach against the three-time NL Cy Young winner while others remained patient. The one constant throughout the 30-pitch frame was that Cubs hitters took advantage whenever Kershaw made a mistake.


MLB becomes whole new ballgame since Cubs last World Series trip


MLB becomes whole new ballgame since Cubs last World Series trip

One way to realize just how long it's been since the Chicago Cubs last reached the World Series is to look at how much the game has changed since then, on and off the field.

The Cubs are making their first appearance since 1945 and chasing their first title since 1908.

Some of the ways the game has changed since the Cubs lost Game 7 to the Detroit Tigers some 71 years ago:

INTEGRATION: Jackie Robinson became the first black player to reach the major leagues in 1947, two years after the Cubs' last World Series appearance. Baseball has turned into a virtual melting pot in the seven decades since. The Cubs' roster includes players from Cuba (reliever Aroldis Chapman and outfielder Jorge Soler), along with Venezuela, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, as well as the United States.

EXPANSION: There were 16 teams in the majors in 1945, including two in St. Louis, Boston, Philadelphia and Chicago, and three in New York. The total is up to 30 now.

GO WEST: There were no major league franchises west of St. Louis in 1945. The Brooklyn Dodgers moved to Los Angeles and the New York Giants headed to San Francisco in 1958. In 1969, the Seattle Pilots showed up - they went 64-98 in their first year, then became the Milwaukee Brewers.

DIVISIONAL PLAY: There were no divisions in 1945, just eight teams in both the American League and National League. They split into East and West divisions in 1969. Then a Central was created in 1994, with the Cubs shifting from the NL East to the NL Central.

PLAYOFFS PLUS: Extra teams and divisions resulted in expanded playoffs. The League Championship Series began in 1969, the Division Series started in 1995 and a one-game wild-card playoff came in 2012. A longer postseason pushed the World Series deep into October and beyond. If the Cubs and Cleveland go the distance this year, Game 7 would be on Nov. 2.

FREE AGENCY: When Phil Cavarretta and Peanuts Lowrey helped lead the Cubs to the 1945 Series, they were bound to the team until they were traded or released. Curt Flood tested baseball's reserve clause in the early 1970s and took his case to the U.S. Supreme Court, helping pave the way for players to move around as free agents. Jon Lester, John Lackey and Ben Zobrist are among the players the Cubs acquired this way.

DESIGNATED HITTER: The designated hitter joined the American League lineup in 1973. The DH debate is still hot, with the leagues playing by different rules. When this year's World Series opens at the AL park, both teams will use the DH; when the Cubs host, the pitchers will hit.

LIGHTS AT WRIGLEY: The Cubs were the last team in the majors to play only day games. That changed when lights were installed at Wrigley Field in 1988. The games there have always been played outdoors on green grass, never under a dome or on artificial turf, trends that became popular starting with the Astrodome in the mid-1960s.