Monday, October 11, 2010

2010 NLDS Game 4: SF 3, ATL 2

The San Francisco Giants have beaten the Atlanta Braves in the 2010 NLDS, and will move on to face the Philadelphia Phillies for the NL pennant. It will be a tough task for the Giants: Philly has won the the last 2 pennants, and they are probably better than they have ever been in the past 3 years. We will have previews for the NLCS throughout the week, leading up to Game 1 on Saturday at Citizen's Bank Park. Right now, though, we need to look back at this game, another game where the Giants somehow got past the Braves.

Bruce Bochy went with Madison Bumgarner instead of Tim Lincecum today, and Bumgarner did what he was supposed to do. He wasn't perfect, but he kept the Giants close in a game where the hitters looked completely puzzled by Derek Lowe. Bumgarner had a normal game for him, giving up some hits, but only walking 1 (An up and coming Cliff Lee perhaps? Probably not, but I can dream). Brian McCann hit a sacrifice fly for the Braves first run in the 3rd inning. The game stayed 1-0 until Cody Ross homered in the 6th inning. A big moment for Ross, the last "mercenary" added to the Giants this season. Bochy decided to keep Bumgarner in the game, and in the bottom of the 6th inning, Brian McCann once again did the damage, hitting the first pitch he saw into the bleachers. Yet Bochy still stuck with Bumgarner, and he was able to finish the inning. He pitched 6 good innings for the Giants on the road in the playoffs. That's a lot for a 21 year old rookie.

In the top of the 7th inning, the Giants finally got to Derek Lowe, or as the TBS broadcasters affectionately called him, "Derrek Lee". Lowe simply lost his command, walking Aubrey Huff, giving up an infield single to Buster Posey, and then walking Pat Burrell. Juan Uribe then hit a ball into the hole at shortstop. It was a tough play, and a double play was going to be impossible, so the Giants definitely had tied the game. But Alex Gonzalez's throw to 2nd base pulled Omar Infante off the bag, and everyone was safe. Aaron Rowand pinch hit for Mike Fontenot, and struck out. But then Cody Ross came up again, and was the hero as he singled into right field. Posey scored, and it took a great throw to cut down Pat Burrell at the plate. The Giants had taken the lead. Santiago Casilla worked a good 7th inning, then came out for the 8th. With 1 out, Bochy somewhat strangely kept Casilla in to face the best hitter on Atlanta, the left handed hitting McCann. McCann singled. It would have been better to go to Javier Lopez at that time. But Casilla got Alex Gonzalez to ground out (Gonzalez has been a huge disappointment for Atlanta), and then Bochy went to Lopez to get Heyward. And Lopez struck him out. The Giants hit into 2 double plays in the 8th and 9th innings, so 1 run was going to have to be enough for Brian Wilson. Wilson didn't have a clean 9th inning, thanks to a once again inconsistent strike zone. He walked 2 batters with 1 out, but then struck out Infante, and got Melky Cabrera to ground into the series winning force out.

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