The San Francisco Giants are the first team to clinch a spot in the next round of the playoffs after their 6-4 victory over the Cincinnati Reds. It’s quite likely that as recently as Tuesday, the Giants would’ve seemed the least likely to advance from their division series. However, baseball.
In what started as a pitching duel between starters Mat Latos of Cincinnati and Matt Cain of San Francisco turned into something of a shootout in the top of the fifth inning when the Giants put up a crooked six on the scoreboard, thanks mainly to a heroic triple from Brandon Crawford and a grand slam from Buster Posey. This was followed by the Reds getting two runs back in the bottom half of the inning with a Brandon Phillips double, and then another run off a solo home run from Ryan Ludwick in the bottom of the sixth. A run in the bottom of the ninth made things stressfully close, but it simply wasn’t enough.
Not wanting to make the same mistake that his counterpart did in leaving his starting pitcher in too long, San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy went to his bullpen and called on effective relief from George Kontos, Jeremy Affeldt, Javier Lopez (somewhat) and Sergio Romo (although, nervously). They, along with stellar defensive efforts from Brandon Crawford and Angel Pagan held off the charge of the Reds with the tying run coming to the plate on four separate occasions after the fifth inning.
It was all a truly excellent game.