Homer Bailey's near second no-hitter in a month wasn't enough for the Cincinnati Reds as the San Francisco Giants got a much needed 2-1 win.
Bailey struck out 10 and gave up just one hit through seven innings, but Ryan Vogelsong and the Giants bullpen helped San Fran keep pace before taking the lead in the 10th inning thanks to an untimely error by veteran Scott Rolen.
Sergio Romo pitched a perfect ninth and 10th for the Giants to pick up the win, while Jonathan Broxton was saddled with the undeserved loss.
Let's take a closer look at this back-and-forth pitcher's duel that featured just three total runs and seven hits in 10 innings.
In case you were wondering, this is not how you win a playoff series (via ESPN Stats & Info):
Through 2 innings today, Giants starting position players hitting a combined 8-61 (.131 BA) this series.—ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 9, 2012
Of course, batting average is a stat that will tend to look bad when pitchers keep throwing near no-hitters against you (via ESPN Stats & Info):
For 2nd straight game, Reds starter will take a no-hit bid into 5th inning. Arroyo went 4 2/3 before allowing hit in Game 2.—ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 9, 2012
In Game 2, it was Bronson Arroyo who eventually gave up just one hit. On Tuesday, it was Homer Bailey, who is clearly no stranger to no-hitters.
Heck, even Giants fans were willing to admit how dominant Bailey looked (via Minnesota Vikings' Geoff Schwartz):
In an effort to hopefully jinx it (which I don't actually believe in)…Bailey is going to no-hit the Giants tonight. He's dominating rt now—Geoff Schwartz (@GeoffSchwartz76) October 9, 2012
MLB.com's Mark Sheldon points out that it's been quite a long time since someone in a Reds uniform accomplished what Bailey did on Tuesday night:
The last #reds pitcher to strikeout 6 in a row in postseason was Hod Eller in 1919 World Series. You remember him, right? Big on Twitter—Mark Sheldon (@m_sheldon) October 10, 2012
But Bailey wasn't the only dominant pitcher in this game. After Ryan Vogelsong pitched five solid innings, Jeremy Affeldt came on for two extremely effective innings of relief. Comcast SportsNet's Andrew Baggarly thinks he pitched well enough to earn a raise:
Jeremy Affeldt is making money for himself right now.—Andrew Baggarly (@CSNBaggs) October 10, 2012
Ah, the power of the playoffs.
After some more ridiculous heat from Aroldis Chapman, one fan pondered what it would be like to face the Reds' specialist. ESPN's John Buccigross came back with some very intelligent advice:
“@friedgehnic: Would love one at-bat against Chapman. Just to see what it's like.”--wear a diaper—John Buccigross (@Buccigross) October 10, 2012
In case you couldn't tell by Twitter's obsession, there were a lot of impressive pitching performances in this one.
Ryan Vogelsong, San Francisco Giants: A-
The only thing wrong with Vogelsong's start was his ugly first inning, as he gave up three hits, a walk and a run. Because of that long, inefficient inning, the 35-year-old was only able to last five innings (95 pitches).
Still, he responded with four no-hit innings and left the Giants in a good position to win the game, which is something that Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner couldn't do at home.
Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants: B+
Posey had a rough start to his night with two strikeouts in his first three plate appearances, but the batting champ singled to start off the all-important 10th inning and scored the game-winning run.
Throw in the fact that he called 10 fantastic innings behind the plate for five different pitchers, and Posey put forth an underrated game in what turned out to be a classic pitcher's duel.
Homer Bailey, Cincinnati Reds: A+
I don't usually give A-pluses, but yeah, this was a downright dominant performance.
Bailey, who has been arguably the league's best pitcher over the past month, put his home struggles behind him and put together what will likely go down as one of the best outings of this year's playoffs. The 26-year-old went seven innings, gave up one run on just a hit and a walk, and struck out 10.
He had the Giants hitters completely off balance as he worked the entire plate and changed up speeds brilliantly.
Scott Rolen, Cincinnati Reds: F
Boy, the Reds really hit both sides of the spectrum here.
Rolen went 1-for-4 at the plate with two strikeouts. That mediocre performance can be excused. However, he also made the error in the 10th inning that cost the Reds the game. That can't be excused.
The Reds now lead the series two games to one. Game 4 will take place Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET in Cincy.