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Game 3 NLDS, Giants 2, Reds 1: Go Tell It On The Mountain

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It was one hell of a game. Homer Bailey looked even more like Christian Bale than normal because he was throwing scalpels exactly where he wanted. Despite being trapped in a day job, I managed to catch Bailey's six consecutive strikeouts, plus a bit more on either side, and I swear every one of his pitches went right to the target. It was bravura pitching with dangerous weapons. Yet the Giants won.

They won because the very good Cincinnati Reds made a few mistakes, and each one the Giants made them pay for. Mistake #1: In the first inning, Brandon Phillips stole second base and kept going to third when Buster Posey missed the pitch. Posey chased the ball to the backstop and politely declined to have any of it. It would have been a big inning, not just a one-run inning. And a big inning would have been insurmountable.

The Giants scored their first run on Gregor Blanco's hit by pitch and Bailey's walk to Brandon Crawford. Fair to say those are mistakes #2 and #3. Vogelsong laid down a perfect bunt, and Pagan got a ball in the air to center field to score Blanco.

Finally, after the two singles in the 10th by Posey and Pence, Jonathan Broxton got fat 'n' nasty and struck out Belt and Nady. But a passed ball by catcher Hanigan (mistake #4) moved the runners up, and -- couldn't you just see it coming? No? Neither could I -- Joaquin Arias chopped a ball to third that caught Scott Rolen with an in-between hop. Bobble, recover, throw. Nope. Safe. Mistake #5.

The Giants can thank the Reds for the five mistakes, but the Giants followed each one with something small, done right. A perfect throw, a textbook bunt, a ball to the outfield, a ground ball in play. Nothing sexy, unless you're hot for bunts. Nothing fancy.

The same could be said for Ryan Vogelsong. He was in super-grinder mode, watching the Reds foul off good pitches, just missing the strike zone on many others, and refusing to groove full count fastballs.

I don't know if this was the turnaround. I don't know if Hunter Pence fired up his teammates with a speech that helped for one night or that will go down in fight-them-on-the-beaches history. Two scores and not even several hits ago, the Giants were left for dead, and now they shall return. They still have to beat a very good Reds team twice on the road with the intolerable Latos lurking. Whatever the outcome, let's just hope that Game 3 was a sign that the Reds won't have the Giants to kick around anymore.


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