Baggs' Instant Replay: Reds embarrass lifeless Giants


Baggs' Instant Replay: Reds embarrass lifeless Giants


SAN FRANCISCO The Giants hoped this wouldnt happen. They feared it might.

Fear is prevailing in this NL Division Series.

A heretofore sturdy and stalwart rotation wobbled into October, and the Cincinnati Reds are flipping them over like fiddler crabs.

Two games and maybe a season in the books at AT&T Park and the Giants are still waiting for a starting pitcher to record an out in the sixth inning. One night after Matt Cain gave up two damaging home runs, Madison Bumgarner fell to the Reds rat-a-tat approach, and Dusty Bakers patient hitters pounded near everyone else to grab a 9-0 victory and a 2-0 edge in this rapidly shrinking NL Division Series.

The Giants are tasked with trying to become the first team in Division Series history to rally back to win from a 2-0 deficit. Others have tried; all 21 of those clubs have failed.

To play another baseball game again at Third and King this year, the Giants must pull off a three-game sweep at Cincinnati something no team has done to the Reds this season. In fact, the Reds havent lost three consecutive home games all year.

And the Giants havent swept three in Porkopolis since April 5-7, 1999, when the Reds still played at the concrete and AstroTurf wonder known as Riverfront Stadium.

If that all sounds dispiriting well we havent dwelt into Game 2 yet:

Bronson Arroyo didnt allow a runner into scoring position while one-hitting the Giants over seven innings. And two refreshingly scoreless relief innings from Tim Lincecum served as a mere temporary tourniquet, as the Reds crushed Jose Mijares and Guillermo Mota in a five-run eighth inning while outhitting the Giants 13-2.

The tone was off from the start, though. Bumgarner and Cain combined to give up seven runs over just 9 13 innings in the first two games of this series. That might have worked a time or two in the 2002 postseason, but Barry Bonds isnt coming back 'til the statue unveiling and Jeff Kent is giving four-fingered handshakes somewhere in the Philippines.

The Giants pitched their way to a World Series title in 2010. Its up to Ryan Vogelsong, Tuesdays Game 3 starter, to reestablish the paradigm before the factory closes up shop for the winter.

Starting pitching report
The Giants had every reason to believe that Bumgarner would be the sand in the Reds lobby ashtray. He was 10-3 with a 2.38 ERA and 1.02 WHIP in 15 home starts and one of those was a one-hit shutout against the Reds in June.

Bumgarner had a history of slow breathing in the postseason, too. He won Game 4 of the 2010 World Series just a few months after his 21st birthday.

But he could not reprise that Halloween night performance.

Its been a series of tricks for Bumgarner, who struggled to a 5.89 ERA over his last seven starts and wasnt much better while allowing four runs on seven hits and a walk in 4 13 innings Sunday night.

Ryan Ludwick, who had been 1 for 16 in his career against Bumgarner, put the Reds on the board with a leadoff home run in the second inning. Then the Reds collected four singles in a five-batter span in the fourth to take a 4-0 lead.

Joey Votto and Ludwick led off by lining fastballs to the outfield turf, and after a foul pop, Scott Rolen served a first-pitch changeup to right field. Hunter Pence threw home and the throw wasnt cut off, nor was it in time to prevent Votto from scoring. Rolen advanced to second base on the throw, which the Reds used to their advantage when Ryan Hanigan grounded a first-pitch slider up the middle and past second baseman Marco Scutaros diving attempt for a two-run single.

Bumgarner kept the fourth from getting all Twinsian, but when Zack Cozart and Votto slapped one-out singles in the fifth, manager Bruce Bochy relieved his young left-hander of the baseball.

Bullpen report
Bochy pledged that Lincecum would be available in the bullpen, but at first blush it appeared there was emergency glass in front of the two-time Cy Young Award winner. Guillermo Mota was the first to warm up, then George Kontos entered the game for Bumgarner despite throwing two scoreless innings (24 pitches) a night earlier.

Kontos contributed again, pumping his fist and roaring when he got Ludwick to hit into a doube play to escape Bumgarners jam in the fifth.

But then Lincecum took off his hooded sweatshirt as the Giants batted in the bottom of the inning, and cheers of recognition spread from the left field stands as he walked to the bullpen mound.

Perhaps Lincecum already had gotten loose in the underground batting cage. Or perhaps he really does have a rubber arm. He made only three or four warmup tosses alongside Jose Mijares, and when the inning ended, there were a few moments of confusion as Lincecum headed back to the dugout. But Bochy bid him enter.

Lincecum could have sucked the remainder of the life out of 24 Willie Mays Plaza. Instead, he got a fly out to the warning track from Jay Bruce and then spun a couple nice curveballs to end a 1-2-3 sixth inning with a crowd-stoking strikeout of Hanigan.

Lincecum worked around Brandon Phillips two-out double while throwing a scoreless seventh inning, too finishing up the third relief appearance of his career, and the second in the postseason.

That wasnt the only oddity about Lincecums night. He threw from the stretch the entire time. And of course, he was throwing to Buster Posey, whom he hasnt worked with often since the All-Star break.

The results were what Bochy and the crowd needed, though. He struck out two, and despite a few wild misses, he did not walk a batter.

After that you dont want to know. Drew Stubbs hit a triple. There was a lot of running around by people in red helmets.

At the plate
The Giants didnt advance a runner into scoring position until the eighth inning, and that was due to fielders indifference.


Arroyo found a groove in his scissor-kick delivery and the Giants couldnt force him out of it. The durable right-hander snipped at the corners while taking a perfect game into the fifth inning, he didnt allow a runner into scoring position through the seventh, and threw just two of his first 86 pitches from the stretch.

Brandon Belt broke up the perfect game with a line-drive single to right field with two outs in the fifth. It was the first ball to leave the infield since the first inning, when the Giants hit three fly outs.

Arroyo was supposed to be the weak link in a Reds rotation that featured 19-game winner Johnny Cueto and Giants nemesis Mat Latos. Instead, Arroyos outing was reminiscent of his June 26 start against the Milwaukee Brewers, when he took a no-hitter into the eighth inning.

The Giants table setters simply havent done enough in this series. Angel Pagan and Scutaro, who had a 20-game hitting streak to end the regular season, are 1 for 17 in the series.

Pagan always touts the importance of scoring early. So its worth noting that the Giants havent led in this series and have trailed at the conclusion of 15 of 18 innings.

In field
Shortstop Brandon Crawford made a nifty stop on Ludwicks grounder to start a double play that charged up the crowd. It turned out to be a sugar high, though. Arroyo kept on dealing and plate umpire Brian ONora was more border friendly than a scrapbooking class.

Third baseman Pablo Sandoval and backup left fielder Xavier Nady both made nice plays behind Sergio Romo in the ninth, while a few thousand fans were flagging down cabs.

The Giants announced 43,505 paid including the only World Series MVP in the franchises five-plus decades in San Francisco. Were betting first-pitch thrower Edgar Renteria got his field-level seat comped. Drinks, too. In fact, the Giants couldve thrown in a uniform and a contract.

Up next
The NL Division Series shifts to Cincinnati for Game 3 on Tuesday. Right-hander Ryan Vogelsong (14-9, 3.37) takes the mound for the Giants. He will oppose Homer Bailey (13-10, 3.68), who tossed a no-hitter in Pittsburgh on Sept. 28.

Cubs homer twice in win over Dodgers; tie NLCS 2-2


Cubs homer twice in win over Dodgers; tie NLCS 2-2


LOS ANGELES -- Anthony Rizzo, Addison Russell and the rest of the Chicago Cubs' bats broke out in a big way.

Rizzo homered and ended a postseason slump with three RBIs, Russell's two-run drive highlighted a four-run fourth that stopped Chicago's 21-inning scoreless streak, and the Cubs routed the Los Angeles Dodgers 10-2 on Wednesday to even the NL Championship Series at 2-all.

Kenta Maeda is set to pitch for the Dodgers in Game 5 on Thursday against Jon Lester. Before the game, manager Dave Roberts said he will not start Clayton Kershaw on short rest after the Los Angeles ace threw a bullpen session Wednesday.

Chicago ensured the NLCS will return to Wrigley Field for Game 6 Saturday.

To break out of his prolonged slump, Rizzo used teammate Matt Szczur's bat.

"I know Szczur's bat has a lot of hits in it," Rizzo said. "I've done it a few times this year, just switching up the bat, switching up the mindset."

Following consecutive shutout losses, the Cubs rapped out 13 hits on an 80-degree night with the warm Santa Ana winds fluttering the flags in center field.

Rizzo and Russell had three hits each. Chicago's 3-4-5 hitters - a combined 2 for 32 in the first three games - busted out. Every Cubs starter got at least one hit except Kris Bryant, who walked twice.

"Today was a must-win for us," Ben Zobrist said.

Los Angeles was limited to six hits and made four errors in a game that dragged on for 3 hours, 58 minutes.

Mike Montgomery won in relief of John Lackey, who was chased after consecutive walks opening the fifth. Four days shy of his 38th birthday, Lackey allowed two runs, three hits and three walks.

Julio Urias, at 20 years, 68 days the youngest postseason starting pitcher in major league history, gave up four runs and four hits in 3 2/3 innings. He was the third consecutive left-hander to start the series for Los Angeles.

Chicago rattled off three straight hits to open the fourth, sparked by Zobrist's leadoff bunt single to third.

"With the way that our bats were swinging it at the beginning of the game, we just had to do anything we could. That was my thought process," Zobrist said. "I felt like if he threw a strike, I could get one down in a good spot and was able to do it.

He took second on Javier Baez's single to left, and Willson Contreras followed with a single to nearly the same spot in shallow left, scoring Zobrist.

Baez moved up to third and Contreras took second on left fielder Andrew Toles' errant throw to the plate that skidded all the way to the backstop.

Jayson Heyward hit a run-scoring groundout, and Russell followed with his first extra-base hit since Sept. 30 and his first homer since Sept. 19. He jubilantly pumped an arm as he rounded the bases on his two-run drive, which put the Cubs ahead 4-0.

Rizzo homered off Pedro Baez leading off the fifth, snapping his 0-for-11 skid in the series. Rizzo had entered 2 for 26 in the postseason.

Los Angeles closed to 5-2 in the fifth. With the bases loaded and one out, Justin Turner's likely double-play grounder caromed off Montgomery's outstretched glove and Russell, who scrambled on all fours at shortstop as the ball went into left-center field for a two-run single.

Chicago tacked on five runs in the sixth off relievers Ross Stripling and Luis Avilan. Dexter Fowler singled in the first run, Rizzo added two more on a bases-loaded single and Javier Baez hit a sacrifice fly, with a second run scoring on an error by center fielder Joc Pederson.


Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez was tagged out at home to end the second. A sliding Gonzalez stretched his left hand toward the tip of the plate as catcher Contreras applied the tag with his left hand near Gonzalez's upper left arm.

The Dodgers challenged Angel Hernandez's call, which was upheld on video review. That drew online scorn from Washington star Bryce Harper.

"He was safe! Replay system still broke..Same thing all year long! (hashtag)DontMessItUp," Harper tweeted.


Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully will attend Thursday's game, his first time back at Dodger Stadium since calling his last home game on Sept. 25. The 88-year-old ended his 67-year career this month with the regular-season finale at San Francisco.


Cubs reliever Carl Edwards Jr. left in the seventh because of left hamstring tightness.


Ashton Kutcher and wife Mila Kunis announced the Dodgers' starting lineup. Also on hand were Rob Lowe, Charlie Sheen, George Lopez, Larry King and Mary Hart.


Lester allowed one run in six innings of Game 1 in the series, getting a no-decision in Chicago's 8-4 victory. ... Maeda has a 9.00 ERA in two postseason appearances. He allowed three runs and four hits in four innings of the NLCS opener and didn't factor in the decision.

Dodgers shut out Cubs in Game 3, take 2-1 NLCS lead


Dodgers shut out Cubs in Game 3, take 2-1 NLCS lead


LOS ANGELES -- Rich Hill never strayed from his mindset of pitching in the moment, even when he was far from the major leagues playing independent ball with the Long Island Ducks.

Convinced there would be another opportunity to get back to the big leagues, he focused on executing pitches without worrying about his current circumstances.

Fourteen months later, Hill allowed two hits over six innings to beat Cy Young Award winner Jake Arrieta and the Chicago Cubs 6-0 Wednesday, giving the Los Angeles Dodgers a 2-1 NL Championship Series lead.

"It's the biggest game of my career," Hill said. "It's just putting in the work, putting in the time, having a routine, persevere, all those things that you can say to sum up some kind of endurance or resiliency. For me, that's all I've ever known is just work."

Rookie Corey Seager had three hits, including a go-ahead single in the third, and Yasmani Grandal hit a two-run homer in the fourth.

After winning a big league-high 103 games during the regular season and sparking belief they could win the World Series for the first time since 1908, the Cubs have been shut out in consecutive games for the first time since May 2014, managing just six hits - five of them singles. Their 18 straight scoreless innings mark the longest postseason drought in franchise history, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

"More than anything, I think we need to get a couple runs and hits and runs early to try to get that kind of feeling back," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said, "because, obviously, when you're not scoring any runs, it makes it even more difficult in the dugout."

Hill, who made two starts in the independent Atlantic League in August 2015 before signing a minor league deal with Boston , struck out six and walked two. Joe BlantonGrant Dayton and Kenley Jansen finished. Playing their 200th postseason game, the Dodgers posted consecutive shutouts for the first time.

Julio Urias starts Game 4 for the Dodgers on Wednesday and at 20 years, 68 days will become the youngest starting pitcher in postseason history. John Lackey starts for the Cubs.

"He's not scared of the moment," Seager said of Urias. "He's not scared of anything."

Hill was acquired from Oakland along with Josh Reddick at the Aug. 1 trade deadline. The 36-year-old left-hander struggled with a blister on the middle finger of his pitching hand that landed him on the disabled list from mid-July to late August. The blister still bothered him in the final weeks of the regular season, and Dodgers manager Dave Roberts pulled him after seven perfect innings against Miami on Sept. 10, saying the team had to keep its focus on bigger goals in October.

Hill was strong from the start against one of his former teams, retiring the side to open the game and later eight in a row. He's given up one run in 23 innings over four home starts for the Dodgers, lowering his ERA to 0.39.

"When he's got that attitude out there, you can tell," Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez said. "That's when you know he's rolling, that his pitches are working, and he's doing what he wants to do out there."

Seager's go-ahead single ended an 0-for-15 slide with runners in scoring position in postseason play.

Grandal was 0 for 5 with three strikeouts against Arrieta in his career before he launched a 3-2 pitch into the right-field pavilion in the fourth for a 3-0 lead. Grandal drove in Reddick, who singled and stole second and third.

"He's been so good for the last couple years just because he doesn't give in," Grandal said of Arrieta. "He still made a really good pitch down in the zone. I was just lucky to put a swing on it and hit it out."

Justin Turner homered on the first pitch leading off the sixth to chase Arrieta, who gave up four runs and six hits in five innings. He dominated the Dodgers in his previous two starts against them, including a no-hitter at Dodger Stadium on Aug. 30, 2015. Los Angeles had gone 2 for 51 against him in two games.

"It's hard to go out there and pitch when your team is not scoring, so you try to be perfect. You can't make any mistakes. If you give up one run, that can be it," Cubs catcher Miguel Montero said. "He had one of his best stuff all year, to be honest."

Joc Pederson doubled in a run in the eighth and Grandal hit a run-scoring groundout .

Maddon moved struggling Anthony Rizzo from third to the cleanup spot, and his broken-bat infield hit in the ninth made him 2 for 26 in the postseason. Addison Russell, dropped from fifth to seventh, is 1 for 24. Jason Heyward struck out as a pinch hitter and is 2 for 19.

Chicago's 3-4-5 hitters went 1 for 11 in the game and are 2 for 32 in the series without an RBI.

Dexter Fowler's two-out double in the eighth provided the Cubs' first extra-base hit since their 8-4 win in the opener.

"There's no doubt here," third baseman Kris Bryant said. "We certainly have all the belief in the world. It's a powerful thing when you believe."

With a win Wednesday, the Dodgers could try to finish the series at home.

"These guys won 100-some games. They've got the talent, so you can't think ahead," Grandal said. "If you think ahead, that's when bad things happen."

Four of Chicago's eight shutouts this year have been against the Dodgers.

Roberts hasn't ruled out turning to Clayton Kershaw to pitch on three days' rest in Game 5 on Thursday.

Los Angeles has announced rookie Kenta Maeda as its starter. He's given up seven earned runs in a combined seven innings of his two postseason starts.

In last week's five-game Division Series against Washington, Kershaw pitched in all three wins. He started Game 1 and Game 4, on three days' rest and got his first big league save in Game 5.

"The series circumstances will kind of dictate what decision we make," Roberts said Tuesday. "Clayton feels good after Game 2. He's prepared for anything that we have for him. He's shown the ability to adjust his routine or regimen for whatever is best for our club."

Lackey is 8-5 with a 3.22 ERA in 24 postseason appearances. Urias will be the third consecutive left-hander to start for the Dodgers. He earned the victory over Washington in Game 5 of the NLDS with two scoreless innings.