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


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


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.

Regulars in lineup continue to scuffle, Giants end up with series split

Regulars in lineup continue to scuffle, Giants end up with series split

SAN FRANCISCO — The momentum generated by Christian Arroyo and Michael Morse late Wednesday night lasted just a few hours. By the end of this four-game series, the Giants were left with a harsh reality: Even with two injections of new blood, they are not hitting. 

Arroyo drove in another run Thursday, but that was it for a lineup that couldn’t support Matt Moore’s effort. The bullpen, which had kept Bruce Bochy’s guys in close games all series, finally broke in the 10th. The Dodgers walked away with a 5-1 win and a split of a series that was rather uninspiring for both sides. 

After scoring 10 runs on the last road trip, the Giants scored just eight during the four games against the Dodgers. Three of those RBI came from Arroyo, called up Monday. A fourth came from Morse, called up Wednesday.

“We’ve got to get this offense going,” Bochy said. “It’s a better offense than what we’re doing right now. You need to find a way to put a few runs on the board. We had our chances, we just couldn’t find ways to get the big hit.”

With Denard Span out for at least another week, Bochy moved Hunter Pence to the top of the lineup. His temporary No. 3 hitter against lefties, Eduardo Nuñez, has one hit in his last 20 at-bats. Buster Posey, the cleanup hitter, is batting .357, but he has driven in just three runs this month. With two on and one out in the eighth, he bounced into a double play. The production closer to the bottom of the order has been nonexistent, leading to constant shuffling that has moved Nuñez and Belt to left at times. Bochy said the staff will continue to search of a lineup that works. 

“You talk about it and do thing to adjust, and it will get better, but right now we’ve got some guys who aren’t swinging the bat well, to be honest,” he said. “You look at the order and we don’t have a lot of guys swinging well.”

The list does not include Arroyo, the rookie who will eventually have to deal with adjustments from pitchers. It doesn’t appear that’ll be a problem. Arroyo has been making adjustments from at-bat to at-bat. He did so against Sergio Romo for his first career homer and said he learned about the depth of Julio Urias’ curveball during their first two battles Thursday. In the sixth, the 21-year-old Arroyo drove in the game-tying run against the 20-year-old Urias. The lefty had walked Posey to face Arroyo, who singled up the middle. 

“He handles himself so well,” Bochy said. “They walked Buster and he smokes the ball. This kid has shown he’s not in awe. The upper deck, the bright lights, he comes to play.”

Arroyo’s effort briefly backed Moore, who was sharp in seven innings. Moore struck out eight, six of them looking, but he didn’t get much help and the bullpen fell apart in the 10th with a series of walks.

Bochy challenged his starters on Saturday at Coors Field and they responded with a strong series back home. The bullpen was tested during the first week but — Thursday’s result aside — it has settled down. The Giants are not as worried about their pitching as they were as they flew back from Denver. They know, however, that this team is going nowhere if two runs per game continues to be the nightly output. 

“We’ll tweak it again,” Bochy said of his lineup. “We'll see if we can get this thing right.”

Instant Replay: Moore tosses gem, but Giants lose to Dodgers in extras

Instant Replay: Moore tosses gem, but Giants lose to Dodgers in extras


SAN FRANCISCO — Quietly over the past couple of weeks, Bruce Bochy’s bullpen had started to settle. Bochy praised the group before Thursday’s game, noting that roles were being defined by pitchers who entered the series finale with the Dodgers with a 0.94 collective ERA this season. That changed in the 10th inning Thursday.

Three relievers combined to give up four runs on four walks and three singles. The implosion ended with a 5-1 loss to the Dodgers and a split of this four-game series. 

For most of the game, this was a day when youth shined. Corey Seager celebrated his 23rd birthday with a solo homer in the first on a two-strike pitch from Matt Moore that caught the heart of the plate. The Giants will be dealing with Seager for years, and if all goes according to plan, there will be years of Julio Urias vs. Christian Arroyo battles, too. 

The 21-year-old third baseman won the first matchup, lining a single to center. Arroyo flew out in his second at-bat against the 20-year-old Urias, but they faced off a third time in a big spot. Brandon Belt drew a one-out walk in the sixth and went to third when a pickoff throw skipped down the line. After an intentional walk of Buster Posey, Arroyo lined another one back up the middle. Urias stuck his glove up but it ticked off and into center for a game-tying single. 

Arroyo ended the young lefty’s day. Moore was done after seven sparkling innings. He struck out eight, six of them looking. 

The game went to extras, and Cory Gearrin walked pinch-hitter Adrian Gonzalez to lead off the 10th. Chase Utley was called up to bunt but he couldn’t get it down. Instead, he hit an infield single off Steven Okert that stayed true to the third-base line. After a walk of Yasmani Grandal, the third straight pinch-hitter, Andrew Toles lined a single to center to give the Dodgers a lead and the wheels soon came off. 

Utley alertly tagged up and scored on a pop-up to foul territory. Justin Turner’s single extended the lead to three and Hunter Strickland’s four-pitch walk of Chris Taylor pushed another across. 

Starting pitching report: Moore gave up 19 hits and 11 earned runs in his two previous starts, but the Dodgers had just two hits, the Seager homer and a Chris Taylor single. Taylor reached third with one out, but Moore got Scott Van Slyke and Cody Bellinger to go down looking. 

Bullpen report: Mark Melancon came on in a non-save situation for a second straight day and pitched a scoreless ninth. 

At the plate: Buster Posey’s hitting streak ended at 12 games. He twice bounced into double plays.

In the field: Posey chased a high pop-up down the right field line in the fourth, but he was going to come up short. Kelby Tomlinson came out of nowhere with the helping hand, making a running catch near the visiting bullpen. Posey smiled and shook his head as Tomlinson whipped the ball back to the infield. 

Attendance: The Giants said they sold out a 500th consecutive game.

Up next: The Giants have a three-city road trip coming up, so it’s time to take advantage of a weekend at home against the Padres. Jeff Samardzija and Luis Perdomo get the opener.