Everything is against the Giants. By everything, I mean history, stats, trends, and everything in between. You name it, and it’s probably against the Giants. However, they earned a right to play another day with a 2-1 win over the Reds. But after Jay Bruce swatted a RBI groundball through the right side of the infield right of the bat in the first inning, the Giants sighed again, which went something like “here we go again, again.”
Homer Bailey seemed destined to take that one run lead and sprint away to the NLCS until the Giants’ scratched out a run in the third inning without recording a hit. Gregor Blanco was hit to leadoff the inning and Brandon Crawford followed him with a walk. Ryan Vogelsong then proceeded to bunt his two teammates over, setting up a good opportunity for the Giants to put themselves on the board for the first time since Saturday night. And they did just that. Angel Pagan hit a deep enough fly ball to score the speedy Blanco from third, and the game was tied at one. It would stay that way for a while, however.
Despite scoring a run, the Giants were held hitless through five innings by Bailey. Bailey, who threw a no-hitter less than weeks ago, had all of his pitches clicking on Tuesday night. He struck out ten Giants over seven innings, walked just one, and allowed just one hit on a Marco Scutaro single as a follow-up performance to his no-hitter.
But Ryan Vogelsong would match him pitch for pitch up until the fifth inning. Vogelsong, starting over Tim Lincecum, struck out five and walked three batters over five innings before being pinch-hit for in the sixth inning. Vogelsong’s five innings pitched comes after Giants’ starters Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner logged just 9.2 innings during the first two games. But Vogelsongwasn’t the highlight on Tuesday. Instead, the bullpen took that honor.
In relief of the starter, Jeremy Affeldt, Santiago Casilla, Javier Lopez, and Sergio Romo pitched four scoreless innings. They allowed just one hit and no walks over those 12 outs to halt the Reds’ dangerous offense. Holding Cincinnati to no runs was vital for the Giants, who didn’t seem like they would score again. However, they endured two-thirds of the Reds’ three-headed monster. Those two-thirds being Sean Marshall and Aroldis Chapman. Then, they struck against the other third, Jonathan Broxton.
Their second run of the game didn’t come easily, however. Buster Posey and Hunter Pence both singled to spark a 10th inning rally. That rally would be dampened when Brandon Belt and Xavier Nady struck out in order. The Giants as a team struck out 15 times on Tuesday, the most for an N.L team since 1999. Joaquin Arias, however, broke the tie by slapping a chopper to Scott Rolen at third base which he bobbled, allowing Arias to reach and the run to cross the plate.
Is that how they drew it up? No. But again, that’s postseason baseball at it’s finest.