The Reds were put at a major disadvantage early. They lost Johnny Cueto, their ace and game one starter after just eight pitches, as he left due to back spams. Sam LeCure was brought in to close the bridge which he did very well, pitching 1.2 innings to set the table for the scheduled game three starter, Mat Latos. Latos, the Giants’ nemesis from his days with the Padres, allowed just one run over four innings in his first relief appearance of his career. Cincinnati’s bullpen came on in the later innings to secure a 5-2 win to take the series opener.
Matt Cain was never able to settle in. Brandon Phillips tagged him for a two-run homer to put his Reds on the board first in the third inning. Phillips’s blast ultimately set the tone, as Jay Bruce would follow a similar script by hitting a solo home run an inning later.
Cain would only last for five wobbly innings, striking out four, and walking one batter on five hits. He was summoned for George Kontos just as he was about to grab a bat in the bottom half of the fifth, as his manager stopped him in his tracks. Kontos pitched two perfect innings to keep his offense within striking distance.
But the Giants couldn’t catch a break on Saturday night. Joey Votto snagged a screaming line drive off the bat of Brandon Belt that would’ve put runners in scoring positon with no outs. Belt would again be robbed of a hit in the sixth frame when left fielder Ryan Ludwick made a diving effort to corral the ball in his glove. Brandon Phillips also made a few “winning” plays as many would call it, one of which included simply backing up first base to prevent the ball from trickling down the right field line or into the dugout. Phillips also anchored down the Reds’ offense with three crucial RBIs.
The Giants didn’t help their cause in the ninth when they made a defensive miscue that expanded the Reds’ lead. Buster Posey, who hit a solo home run in the sixth inning, let a very catchable pitch from Santiago Casilla reach the backstop, allowing the Reds to score their fifth and final run of the game. Prior to scoring on the passed ball, Phillips drove in his third run of the game with a single through the right side of the infield that was set-up by a bloop hit off the bat of Xavier Paul the batter before.
Posey had a chance to erase the deficit when he came up as the tying run in the ninth inning. However, he was overpowered by the Reds’ flame-throwing closer Aroldis Chapman on a high fastball to induce the strikeout.