Matt Cain dominated the Rangers (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
So the San Francisco Giants can’t hit….tell that to the Texas Rangers who have given up 20 runs in the first two games of the World Series. Of course when the opposition scores no runs it makes it a lot easier to win and in game two of the 2010 World Series the San Francisco Giants not only shut down the hitting machine that has been the scourge of the American League but clobbered their pitching staff for the second night in a row.
Edgar Renteria hits a 2 RBI single (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Giants’ starter Matt Cain was dominant in the second game of the series while Rangers’ starter C. J. Wilson pitched well but not well enough until handing the game over to the Rangers bullpen which imploded in the 8th inning. Wilson allowed just two runs on 3 hits, one a costly solo shot with two outs in the bottom of the 5th by Edgar Renteria. Cain on the other hand was masterful getting hitter after hitter out allowing just 4 hits and giving up two walks in 7.2 innings work allowing just 1 hit in 8 attempts by Rangers’ sluggers Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz.
The game was a pitcher’s duel with the only mistake being committed by Wilson in the bottom of the 5th inning when he left a fastball in the middle of the plate for Renteria to put into the left field seats to give the Giants a 1-0 lead which it would remain until the bottom of the 7th when the Giants Juan Uribe singled to score Cody Ross who Wilson had walked to lead off the inning. The walk to Ross was the end for Wilson who ceded the mound to Darren Oliver. Oliver gave up the single to Uribe and the Giants led 2-0 after 7 innings.
Cain pitched into the 8th inning and after giving up a walk to Elvis Andrus was relieved by Javier Lopez with two outs. Lopez got Josh Hamilton to fly out to end the Rangers’ half of the 8th inning. In the bottom from it all came apart for the Rangers’ bullpen. Darren O’Day got the first two Giants he faced, Andres Torres and Freddy Sanchez out on strikes before giving up a two out single to Buster Posey. Ron Washington chose not to use Neftali Feliz and instead sent in Derek Holland to relieve O’Day with Nate Schierholtz coming to the plate. Holland walked Schierholtz and followed with a walk to Cody Ross to load the bases and yet another to Aubrey Huff to score Posey. That walk was enough for Washington who replaced Holland with Mark Lowe. Lowe walked Juan Uribe to score Schierholtz and then gave up a single to Renteria which scored Ross and Huff. With the game rapidly slipping away the Rangers reacted to Bruce Bochy sending up Mike Fotenot which Ron Washington countered not with Neftali Feliz but Michael Kirkman and Bochy once again countered with Aaron Rowland instead of Fotenot. Rowland delivered a triple which scored Uribe and Renteria and then a double to Andres Torres which scored Rowland. The inning ended with the Giants scoring 7 runs to make the game 9-0. The Giants put Guillermo Mota into the game and Mota despite allowing a walk put the Rangers away.
It was another stunning blow to the Rangers who now go back to Arlington down 2-0 in the series and seemingly having no answer to Giants hitting or pitching. Matt Cain has not allowed an earned run in 21.1 innings and on Saturday the Rangers will send Colby Lewis against Jonathan Sanchez. The Giants have done well on the road this post season closing out both Atlanta and Philadelphia in their houses. This could be a tough climb for the Rangers unless they dramatically turn things around.
Freddy Sanchez flying down the baseline, Sanchez had three doubles in Game One of the World Series
Well the promised pitching duel ended as did Cliff Lee’s undefeated record in the playoffs and with it the predictions of almost everyone including me that this would be a close game. Giants’ starter Tim Lincecum struggled in the early innings giving up a run in the first inning and got out of a bases loaded situation with 1 out when Juan Uribe made a difficult double play at Third Base. He gave up a second run in the top of the 2nd inning as Cliff Lee helped himself with a double. The score remained 2-0 until the bottom of the 3rd inning when Edgar Renteria reached on an error by Michael Young at 3rd base and Cliff Lee uncharacteristically hit Andres Torres to bring up Freddy Sanchez who doubled to left to score Renteria. Buster Posey singled to score Sanchez to tie the game before Lee recovered his composure to strikeout Pat Burrell and Cody Ross to get out of the inning.
Both pitchers seemed to find their groove until the top of the 5th inning when Cliff Lee was removed rather violently from the pedestal that many sports writers and fans had placed him on. I knew that he was beatable in game 5 of the ALDS when he had to gut out that game against the Rays, he got the win there but had to work hard and only lasted 6 innings. In the bottom half of the 5th in game one of the World Series Lee was shredded by the Giants. After retiring Tim Lincecum he gave a double by Torres and was driven in by Sanchez who hit his third double of the game. In game one Lee could not get his curve ball over the plate so Giants hitters patiently waited on his fastball and hammered him time and time again. Lee struck out Buster Posey for the second out and it was downhill from there. He then walked Pat Burrell and then gave up an RBI single to Cody Ross. Aubrey Huff followed with an RBI single and Lee was done. Ron Washington trotted out Darren O’Day to face Juan Uribe who hit a towering home run to left center field to clear the bases and make the score 8-2. Seven runs were charged to Lee, his worst game in his playoff career. Lincecum then got the first two batters of the 6th inning out striking out both Vladimir Guerrero and Nelson Cruz. He had a 2-0 count on Ian Kinsler but walked him and then gave up a double to his former catcher Benji Molina which scored Kinsler from 1st base and a single to Mike Moreland which hit him in the hamstring for an infield hit. Pinch hitter David Murphy singled to score Molina before Sergio Casilla relieved Lincecum and struck out Elvis Andrus to end the inning with the score 8-4 in favor of the Giants.
The score remained 8-4 until the bottom of the 8th inning when the Giants put another crooked number on the board. Edgar Renteria singled to right and went to second on an error by Vladimir Guerrero. Pinch hitter Travis Ishikawa doubled to score Renteria and the hits kept coming. Sanchez singled to right scoring Ishikawa and then took 2nd base on another error by Guerrero. Nate Schierholtz singled with two outs to drive in Sanchez to make the score 11-4. The Rangers came back in the 9th inning scoring three runs off of Giants relievers but could not complete the comeback as Brian Wilson got Ian Kinsler to fly out to end the game.
Rangers’ pitchers Darren O’Day and Cliff Lee after being battered by the Giants for Lee it was his worst outing in the playoffs and his first loss in post-season play
Cliff Lee got the loss, his first of his playoff career as the Giants worked him over good driving him from the game after 4.2 innings hitting him hard, 7 runs (6 earned) on 8 hits forcing him to throw 104 pitches in the effort. Tim Lincecum got the win going 5.2 innings giving up 4 runs on 8 hits.
Giants’ hitters acted like they were the Rangers blasting 6 doubles and a home run, three of the doubles by Freddy Sanchez, a World Series record. The Giants also scored 6 of their runs with two outs, excellent production which gave them the victory. In the end the Giants had 11 runs on 14 hits with two errors to defeat the Rangers who had 7 runs on 11 hits and committed 4 costly errors. Tonight they meet again with Matt Cain going up against C. J. Wilson.
Tim Lincecum defeats the Phillies in game one of the NLCS Saturday (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
The underdog San Francisco Giants went into Philadelphia with all the experts predicting them to lose. Instead Tim “the Freak” Lincecum, Giants relievers and Cody “I can hit clutch home runs” Ross defeated the Phillies on Saturday night. The atmosphere in the ballpark was charged the entire game as the Giants won in yet another one run game as the Giants treated their fans to another evening of torture.
Roy Halladay gets his first playoff loss of 2010 the victim of 2 Cody Ross home runs (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
In the bottom of the third inning Roy Hallady gave up a solo home run to Cody Ross to give the Giants a 1-0 lead after retiring the first seven Giants batter. Tim Lincecum gave up a home run to Carlos Ruiz in the bottom of the third to tie the game at one. The score was tied until the 5th inning when Cody Ross slammed his second home run off of Halladay a one out pitch into the left field seats for a 2-1 Giants lead. The Giants increase their lead in the top of the 6th inning when with two outs they got a rally going. With two outs Buster Posey singled and scored on a double by Pat Burrell who was lifted for a pinch runner in the form of Nate Schierholtz. Juan Uribe then singled to score Schierholtz and give the Giants a 3-1 lead.
Cody Ross hits his second home run off Roy Hallady in the 5th inning (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
The Phillies came back with two runs in the bottom of the 6th when Jayson Werth hammered a two run home run into the right field seats. The game then became a duel of relievers as both Lincecum and Halladay exited the game after 7 innings. In the 9th Phillies closer Brad Lidge loaded the bases but was able to get out of the jam while Javier Lopez and Brian Wilson were able to shut down the Phillies with Wilson striking out the side in the 9th to secure the win. Tim Lincecum got the win for the Giants and Roy Halladay the loss. Brian Wilson who led the majors in saves with 48 got his third save of the playoffs.
Fear the Beard: Brian Wilson strikes out 4 of 4 Phillies to get the save (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
Tomorrow Jonathan Sanchez will face Roy Oswalt who was roughed up by the Reds in the NLDS. Sanchez has beaten the Phillies twice this year while Oswalt has beaten the Giants once. It should be an interesting matchup.
Brooks Conrad looks down after his 3rd error of the game (AP Photo/Dave Martin)
Once again the Braves and Giants had a pitcher’s duel going as their starters maintained a firm grip on the game as Jonathan Sanchez set the pace for the Giants holding the Braves to two hits and a run in 7.1 innings work and Tim Hudson holding the Giants to an unearned run in 7 innings work.
Jonathan Sanchez dominated the Braves for 7 innings (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
The Giants led by a score of 1-0 until the bottom of the 8th inning scoring their run in the second inning when Mike Fotenot tripled and then scored on Brooks Conrad’s fielding error on a Cody Ross ground ball. The lead held up until with one out in the 7th Sanchez gave up a single to Alex Gonzalez. This brought in Sergio Romo to face pinch hitter Eric Hinske. With a 0-2 count Hinske drilled a shot just over the right field wall next to the foul pole to give the Braves a 2-1 lead. This sent the fans at Turner Field into a tomahawk chop frenzy, the Braves dugout was celebrating and the Giants appeared to be thunderstruck. Sanchez appeared to be in shock and others were shaking their heads.
Aubrey Huff drives in the tying run off of Mike Dunn with 2 outs in the top of the 9th (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
The Giants came up in the bottom top of the 9th inning to face Craig Kimbrel. Kimbrel got leadoff batter Cody Ross to pop out to second for the first out. Travis Ishikawa pinch hit for Romo and drew a walk. Kimbrel then struck out Andres Torres for the second out. With the crowd roaring Kimbrel had Freddy Sanchez down to his last strike when Sanchez singled up the middle to keep the Giants in the game. That was all for Kimbrel who turned the ball over to left hander Mike Dunn to face Aubrey Huff who hits left handed pitchers like piñatas. Huff was behind in the count but ripped a slider on the outside corner into right field where it dropped in from of right fielder Jason Heyward to score Ishikawa. Dunn was done in by the hit and Bobby Cox brought in Peter Moylan to get Buster Posey. Moylan did his part; Posey hit a sharp ground ball to Conrad which went between his legs into right field allowing Sanchez to score giving the Giants a 3-2 going into the bottom of the 9th. With the exception of scattered boos for Conrad the crowd sat in stunned silence and all the energy disappeared from the Braves dugout.
Freddy Sanchez celebrates with Nate Schierholtz after scoring the go ahead run (AP Photo/John Amis)
The Giants brought in Brian Wilson to close the game and Wilson back in form shut down the Braves to get the save and give the Giants a 2-1 series lead. The teams will meet Monday with the Giants’ rookie Madison Bumgarner (7-6 3.00 ERA) going against Derek Lowe (16-12 4.00 ERA) in what could be the final game of Bobby Cox’s long career. One wonders if the Braves can rise to the occasion.
Rick Ankiel’s 11th Inning Blast put the Braves in the lead but Giants errors opened the door for the Braves (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
In my NLCS predictions I said that the San Francisco Giants and Atlanta Braves series would be the hardest to pick as the teams were so evenly matched. I gave the edge to the Giants based on how their starting pitching has done in the final month of the season and I still predict the Giants to win in four or five games. Last night it looked like the Giants were on their way to going to Atlanta with a 2-0 series lead and then the improbable happened. Leading 4-0 the Giants committed two Costly errors gave the Braves to opportunity to tie the game and eventually win it on Rick Ankiel’s 11th inning home run that landed among the kayaks in McCovey Cove.
Giants’ starter Matt Cain gave up just one run, an unearned one in the top of the 6th created by a fielding error by outfielder Pat Burrell on a Derek Lee single. Lee took second on the error and scored when the next batter, Brian McCann singled to make the score 4-1. The Giants failed to capitalize in the 7th inning and the game went into the 8th with Sergio Romo coming into the game in relief. Derek Lee and McCann singled and Romo was pulled for closer Brian Wilson. Wilson faced Melkie Cabrera who hit a ground ball to third baseman Pablo Sandoval who whose errant throw pulled first baseman Aubrey Huff off the bag allowing Lee to score. After a sacrifice bunt by Brooks Conrad sent the runners to second and third Alex Gonzalez doubled to left to score McCann and Cabrera to tie the game.
The game went into extra innings and in the bottom of the 10th the Giants had the bases loaded with one out. Reliever Kyle Farnsworth got Buster Posey to hit into an inning ending double play. Ramon Ramirez working his second inning of relief made one bad pitch which Ankiel slammed with such authority that Giants right fielder Nate Schierholtz didn’t even turn around. The Giants did not score in the bottom half of the inning giving the Braves who led the majors in come from behind wins yet another improbably victory.
On Sunday the Giants will send Jonathan Sanchez (13-9 3.09 ERA) who has won 7 of his last 10 games to the mound. Sanchez lost his last appearance against the Braves last only 4 innings giving up 4 runs on 5 hits. He will face Braves ace Tim Hudson (17-9 2.83 ERA) who won his last start against the Giants but struggled down the stretch going 5-5 with a 4.50 ERA. Hudson has a career 13-13 record and 3.56 life time ERA against the Giants.
The Braves have the best record at home in the Majors this year and took their season series against the Giants 4 games to 3, and took 3 of 4 at home against the Giants this year which gives them a slight advantage in the next two games. I expect that the teams will manage a split in Atlanta and take the series back to San Francisco. This should continue to be the best and most interesting series of the 2010 Divisional Series playoffs.