The Giants seemingly brought back the 2010 torture on Thursday afternoon. Perhaps they brought that term to a new level. Having brought the tying or go-ahead run to the plate from the sixth inning on, the Reds seem destined to eventually capitalize on one of those opportunities. But never they never did. Matt Cain pitched just 5.2 innings before handing the job over to his bullpen which secured a 6-4 NLDS clinching victory.
This bullpen, which allowed just one run over 4.1 innings during the clincher, flourished during the first round of the playoffs. Before last weekend, they were nothing but mediocre, especially up against a Reds’ bullpen that was labeled by most as the best group in baseball. But in this series, they didn’t have much of an opportunity to make a significant impact. They being Aroldis Chapman, Sean Marshall, and Jonathan Broxton. It was the Giants’ bullpen that took-over.
Torture was involved, however.
Sergio Romo ended a double-digit pitch at-bat with Jay Bruce by inducing a pop-up to left field to the powerful left-hander. Then, just as Brian Wilson did about two years ago, he recorded the last out. It wasn’t the best of his sliders, but it got the job done, getting Scott Rolen to swing right through the loopy pitch, as the Giants celebrated their historical feat. Not only did they become the first National League team to comeback down 0-2 in a five game series, but they proved the baseball world wrong once again.
Yet, while the bullpen will certainly garner some of the headlines, the majority of the headlines will be headed in Buster Posey’s direction. Posey, who hit a home run in game one, a distant memory it seems like now, smacked a Mat Latos pitch into the second deck at Great American Park with the bases loaded. From the crack of the bat, everyone knew it was gone. Ryan Hanigan, the Red’s catcher, turned away in disgust, as did Latos who famously wrote “I hate SF” on baseball two years ago.
Posey’s home run lifted the Giants’ lead to six with the score at 6-0, but the game was far from over with the game just in the fifth inning. Cain boasted a healthy lead until Brandon Phillips lined a two-run double through the gap in right centerfield to close a small portion of the gap, which would eventually boil down to an even smaller gap when Ryan Ludwick hit a solo home run the next inning. Ludwick again came through again with an RBI single in the bottom of the ninth inning with one out. Closing the bridge even more, the Reds sniffed comeback, but that sense was plugged two outs later when Rolen sniffed nothing but defeat.