The heroes of the game were the offense and Tim Lincecum. Angel Pagan led the way with his lead-off homer, the first time in Giants franchise playoff history (they also set a playoff record with 8 extra-base hits in the game). Gregor Blanco also had a 2-run homer later and Sandoval put the exclamation point with his 2-run homer on a pitch that most hitters would not swing at, which must have made the Reds' pitchers cross-eyed and bewildered looking at that happen. Pablo had 3 RBI total. Joaquin Arias, who was not even in the starting lineup, started two rallies resulting in 5 runs, doubling twice, scoring twice, while playing sparkling defense again. Amazingly, Hector Sanchez had 2 walks in this game, after singling in his first AB.
Wow, Lincecum came through again, 4.1 IP, giving up only 2 hits and 0 walks, striking out 6, as he shut down the Reds' offense, holding them at bay while the offense added more runs. He did it all coming out of the stretch, as well. He looks like he's back. And the other relievers did well too, Kontos, Mijares, and Casilla.
Now the Giants are tied with the Reds 2-2, and play tomorrow for the right to advance to the NLCS. Do or die now for both teams, and the Giants performed while the Reds did not, as the pitching shut them down.
Game 3: Cain vs. Latos
Matt Cain: In Game 1, Cain's streak of 23 1/3 consecutive innings without allowing an earned run in the postseason ended Brandon Phillips slugged a two-run home run in the third inning. All told, Cain allowed three runs on five hits over five innings.
Cain did not really have that bad a start in the first game, he was just 1 IP away from a DOM start (he ended up with a 3 PQS). He just ran into a lot of bad luck with the homers, something that normally does not happen to him in his career. He has a 3.44 ERA in Cincy's GAB, in 5 starts, 34.0 IP, giving up 37 hits and 12 walks, striking out 24, giving up 3 homers. He had a DOM start here earlier this season.
As noted in his first start, a lot of the Reds hitters have hit him well. Phillips (.818 OPS in 33 PA), Votto (.760 OPS in 30 PA), Ludwick (1.164 OPS in 29 PA), Bruce (1.565 OPS in 19 PA), Cozart (1.178 OPS in 10 PA). But he generally works both LHB and RHB very well. But he has done worse away: 3.61 ERA on the road, 2.98 ERA at home.
Latos came in relief in the first game, helping the Reds win a game that, by rights, they should have been down given that they lost their best starting pitcher within 8 pitches. And that just continued his great pitching against the Giants this season for the Reds, 2 starts, 0.56 ERA, 16.0 IP, giving only 6 hits and 2 walks, striking out 10. And he did well against the Giants when he was with the Padres. Plus, he has a 3.05 ERA career in GAB in 21 starts there, 2.82 K/BB, so he has been dominant here. And he stops both LHB and RHB, and he is really good against RHB.
He has really shut down the Giants. Only Posey (.979 OPS in 16 PA) and Belt (.879 OPS in 12 PA) have good batting lines, Sandoval, Huff, Pagan, Crawford, Pence, Nady, Scutaro, Hanchez, Blanco do not.
The Giants have the momentum, but the Reds are at home and Latos has his great history against the Giants. But the Reds are on their heels now, and it is up to their pitcher, Latos, to shut down the Giants and allow their offense to try to get to Cain. And it is up to the Giants offense to get to Latos, but as my research showed, it is mostly in the hands of the starting pitchers and he has dominated the Giants previously. But if the Cain of the 2010 Playoffs is back, this could be a well-pitched game of the ages, much like yesterday's game, only both would go deep into the game.
But what a series so far! Can the Giants do the unprecedented and come back down 0-2 to win the series on the road? Our fate appears to be in Cain's able hands.