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(Saturday, October 6th)
Final Score: Cincinnati 5, San Francisco 2
San Francisco, CA (Sports Network) - Despite losing their ace in the first inning, the Cincinnati Reds got a decent effort from their bullpen and won the opener of their National League Division Series.
Johnny Cueto exited with back spasms after making just eight pitches, but the Reds got homers from Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce to hold off the San Francisco Giants, 5-2, at AT&T Park.
Sam LeCure (1-0), Mat Latos, Sean Marshall and Jonathan Broxton combined to allow one run. Latos, who was expected to start Game 3, yielded four hits, including a homer to Buster Posey, over four innings.
Aroldis Chapman had trouble in the final inning and gave up a run on a wild pitch before fanning Posey to end the game.
"I feel really proud about my team," Cueto said. "I feel proud about the pitchers. They all came in and did their job, not just them, the hitters came in and they backed me up tonight."
Phillips drove in three runs for the NL Central champions, who had lost their previous seven playoff games. They were swept in the division series two years ago by the Philadelphia Phillies and were whitewashed by the Atlanta Braves in the 1995 NLCS. This was Cincinnati's first postseason win in exactly 17 years. The Reds completed a sweep of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL Division Series on Oct. 6, 1995.
The NL West champion Giants went 0-for-5 with men in scoring position and left 11 runners on base.
Game 2 of this best-of-five series is Sunday night in San Francisco. Bronson Arroyo is slated to start on the mound for the Reds against Madison Bumgarner.
Cueto struck out Angel Pagan to begin the bottom of the first inning, but the 19-game winner was removed from the game in favor of LeCure after delivering a pair of strikes to Marco Scutaro.
"He was in quite a bit of pain out there after he threw the pitch," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "So the fact that he said he's better, and Johnny is usually pretty honest with us, that gives us a glimmer of hope that he might be back."
Cueto, who is listed as day-to-day, set a major league record for fewest batters faced by a starter in postseason play.
"When I was throwing, long toss, nothing happened, everything was feeling well," Cueto said. "As I went to the bullpen, I was warming up and everything went perfect. It was only on the last two throws when I felt a sharp pain on my right side. Then I was getting ready to go back to the dugout, I just went and talked to the head trainer and told him about ... he put some heat on it and we communicated to Bryan (Price) what happened."
LeCure escaped a bases-loaded jam in the second inning by retiring Giants starter Matt Cain (0-1) on a line drive to right field.
Latos entered the game in the third inning with the Reds holding a 2-0 lead courtesy of Phillips' two-run homer in the top portion, a one-out shot to left-center field with Drew Stubbs aboard.
Bruce homered to right-center field to start the fourth inning and first baseman Joey Votto made a sparkling defensive play in the bottom half. Hunter Pence was on base following Scott Rolen's throwing error. Brandon Belt lined a ball that was destined for right field, but Votto made the leaping grab and completed the double play.
"We had a tough night with balls," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "Cain smoked that ball. Belt hit one, line drive. That can change the game there."
Posey hit the first pitch of the San Francisco sixth over the wall in left field. He singled and Belt walked in the eighth, but Broxton came back to get Gregor Blanco looking at a third strike to cap the frame.
"It was a borderline pitch and they got the call," Bochy said. "It can change an inning. I haven't seen the pitch, but Blanco thought it was outside and it's a tough break."
Santiago Casilla had a shaky top of the ninth. He would have been out of the inning, but pinch-hitter Xavier Paul broke his bat on a bloop single to right- center field, which put runners at the corners. Phillips then lined an RBI single to right field. A wild pitch moved two runners into scoring position, and Paul scored when Posey failed to grab an inside pitch from Casilla.
Chapman suffered from control problems early on as pinch-hitter Joaquin Arias singled and pinch-hitter Xavier Nady walked. Pagan popped out to catcher Ryan Hanigan on the infield-fly rule and Scutaro walked to load the bases. Pablo Sandoval popped out before Chapman's high pitch clipped Hanigan's glove, leading to the second run.
The Giants opened the postseason at home for the third consecutive time ... Cain entered the game having not allowed an earned run in 21 1/3 innings, the second-longest streak in Giants franchise history, short of Christy Mathewson's 28 frames ... Cain had four strikeouts over five innings.
10/07 02:07:59 ET
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