The Reds brought their game to San Francisco and used pitching, power, and Brandon Phillips to smother the Giants and take Game One. Matt Cain gave up two home runs early and that was enough. The pitch to Phillips with a man on in the 3rd was ugly, a fat curve ball that never curved, and he did what any self-respecting hitter would do and crushed it to left. Jay Bruce, leading off in the 4th, hit a solo shot to the deepest part of the park and that doomed Cain to an early night. One consolation is that a five-inning, 75-pitch outing means he could come back on short rest in Game Four. But the Giants have to get there first, and that means a win tomorrow. They had chances tonight, but the Reds made some big defensive plays and pitched out of every jam. Starter Johnny Cueto left in the 1st with back spasms after just two batters, but Sam LeCure kept the lid on for 1-2/3 and turned the ball over to the scheduled Game Three starter Mat Latos. He managed four solid innings, giving up only a solo shot to Buster Posey. Latos loves to give Giants fans grief! Damn! I'm sick of that guy. They made a huge trade to get him this off-season and it paid off big time. Santiago Casilla unfortunately had an ugly 9th and the Reds tacked on two insurance runs, making the Giants mini-rally in the bottom of the inning a lot less dramatic than it could have been. Aroldis Chapman got Pablo Sandoval to pop up with the bases loaded and struck out Buster with two on to finish the deal.
A disappointing outcome for the home squad, losing 5-2 with their best pitcher on the hill. Brandon Belt looked good, getting robbed by Joey Votto on line drive in the 4th that doubled off Hunter Pence, and getting robbed again in the 6th on a flair to left with a diving catch from Ryan Ludwick. He walked in his other two plate appearances, and made a spectacular grab of a foul pop in the 1st. He was composed and confident in his first post-season game. Gregor Blanco had a walk, a double, and a bunt single, but struck out looking in the 8th with two on. Getting on base three times was impressive when you consider the top of the lineup was 2-14. The Reds have some serious pitching--they yielded the fewest runs (588) in the league in the regular season, and that's playing half their games in a hitter-friendly park. They also hit the third-most home runs (172) and made the second-fewest errors (89). The Giants were sixth in runs scored (718), and three of the teams above them failed to make the post-season. They were third in OBP (.327) and hits (1495), fourth in stolen bases (118, most of all the playoff teams except Oakland), and of course first in triples (57). It's an offense made of lots of moving parts and they couldn't get them going this evening even with the Reds losing their starter. Matty gave up the big bombs and that let the air out of the balloon and they couldn't claw their way back.
Madison Bumgarner gets the start tomorrow. Giants need a big effort to get the split at home and head to Cincinnati with the series tied. They are a good road team and should be able to push the Reds to the limit.