Sunday, October 7, 2012

Phillips helps power Reds to game one victory over Giants

Things didn't look good early on for Dusty Baker and the Reds on Saturday night, but the NL Central Champions banded together and managed to knock off the host Giants, 5-2, to take a 1-0 lead in the NLDS.

Cincinnati ace Johnny Cueto exited the game in the first inning after throwing only eight pitches due to back spasms. Sam LeCure came on in relief and prompty delivered 1.2 innings of shutout baseball. He was followed by Mat Latos (4 IP), Sean Marshall (1 IP), Jonathan Broxton (1 IP), and Aroldis Chapman (1 IP) who were able to limit San Francisco to two runs and six hits over 8.2 inning of relief.

Brandon Phillips carried the offense with three hits, including a 2-run homer in the third that put the visitors up 2-0 at the time. Jay Bruce added a solo homer and a double to help fuel what had previously been a lackluster offense to victory.

Here's a full recap of the good, bad and notables from Game One:

The Good:
+ The Reds help themselves tremendously by taking Game One of the series.
+ The majors' best bullpen pitched extremely well considering the circumstances.
+ Phillips went 3-5 with three RBI in the contest. He also played his usual stellar defense and avoided a tag in the seventh to help prolong the inning.
+ Xavier Paul came off the pine to deliver a pinch-hit single.
+ Although Cueto appeared to be seriously injured, GM Walt Jocketty told a reporter after the game that the club hopes to have him pitch in Game Three on Tuesday.

The Bad:
+ Chapman ran into some trouble closing out the game in the ninth. He showed a bout of wildness with a pair of walks and a wild pitch that allowed the second SF run to score.
+ Scott Rolen was hitless in four at-bats and was charged with the game's only error.
+ The middle of the order, Joey Votto and Ryan Ludwick, combined to go 0-6. Ludwick did make a couple of fine defensive plays though.
+ The rotation is a little thrown off now due to Latos pitching tonight. But if Cueto can indeed return for Game Three than it could be a blessing in disguise.

The Notables:
+ Cincy snapped a 7-game losing streak in postseason play dating back to 1995.
+ In the 68 previous Division Series beginning in 1995, the winner of Game One has advanced to the LCS 48 times (71%).
+ The Reds improve to 48-7 when Drew Stubbs scores at least one run.
+ Game Two will take place Sunday night beginning at the same time (9:37 PM ET). The Reds will march out veteran Bronson Arroyo (12-10, 3.74) to oppose Giants left-hander Madison Bumgarner (16-11, 3.37).

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