This wasn’t what manager Bruce Bochy had planned. He didn’t expect Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner to pitch just 9.2 innings in two games, and he certainly didn’t expect an entirely dead ball park for the majority of both games. But hey, that’s playoff baseball for you.
For a lack of a better word, Bronson Arroyo shut down the Giants. A relatively extensive top of the eighth inning permitted him from possibly throwing a shutout, but the Reds didn’t need him. They held a comfortable lead all night, started with Ryan Ludwick’s solo home run in the second inning which released a sigh of “Here we go again” from the Giants’ dugout. A sigh of such was certainly accurate.
The Reds dangerous lineup feasted on Giants’ pitching. Bumgarner gave up four of the nine runs. The Reds ultimately separated themselves with a pair of RBI singles in the fourth inning off the lefty to plate three runs. Bumgarner, who struggled over the final month of the season continued that trend with 4.2 wobbly innings.
San Francisco couldn’t catch a break on Saturday night, but on Sunday, they simply got outplayed. The wheels fell off in the eighth inning when the Reds pushed across five runs across to pad their already safe lead. Prior to that, Tim Lincecum sparked a rather dead crowd with two scoreless innings in relief It was his fifth career relief appearance, and he looked very sharp, striking out two batters.
However, nothing really sparked AT&T Park consistently. San Francisco coaxed only one hit off Arroyo, and two in the game. Never did they have a rally in order, nor was Arroyo never not in control. Brandon Belt had the only hit off the Reds’ veteran, a single.
The crowd, at least what was left of it, came to its feet when Buster Posey stepped into the box for possibly his final bat of the year at AT&T Park. Posey, the presumable front-runner for the MVP award, walked after hitting a home run on Saturday. The odds are obviously against the Giants. Only four team have come back in a five game series when down 0-2. However, this is a team that is an entirely different club on the road. During the regular season, they averaged nearly six runs per game on the road, and Great American Park favors the hitters.
If there’s a last hope that’s clearly it. But momentum, talent, and the home field is on the Reds’ side as of now. The Giants have to take it without any blemishes.