Bay Area baseball teams force Game 5
The San Francisco Giants and Oakland Athletics came back from a 2-0 deficit to force a Game 5 in each team’s respective Division Series.
The Giants normally dominant pitching has been sub-par against the red-hot Cincinnati Reds. Pitchers Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner, Ryan Vogelsong and Barry Zito never made it past five innings. Cain, the Giants’ new ace, allowed five hits—including two homeruns—and two earned runs in just five innings in Game 1. In Game 2, Bumgarner allowed seven hits and four earned runs in just over four innings. Vogelsong had the Giants best outing in Game 3, allowing just three hits and one earned run in five innings. Zito had the team’s worst outing in Game 4 allowing four hits, two earned runs and four walks—including one walk that forced a run home—in just over two innings.
Despite the Giants’ poor pitching, the team was able to scrape by on an error to win Game 3 and extend their season one more game. Joaquin With two men on base, Arias pitch hit in the top of the 10th inning and hit an infield grounder to third baseman Scott Rolen, who bobbled the ball. Arias beat out the throw to first and Buster Posey scored, giving the Giants a 2-1 victory.
The Giants offense finally picked up in Game 4. After scoring only four runs on 12 hits in the first three games, the Giants scored eight runs on 11 hits. The Giants had the least number of home runs of any team in the league this season, but put up home runs by Angel Pagan, Gregor Blanco and Pablo Sandoval. Tim Lincecum gave the Giants its best showing by a pitcher thus far in the series pitching four and one-thirds inning relief, allowing two hits, one run and striking out six. Lincecum, who will not be given any starts in this series, has pitched more innings than any other Giants pitcher thus far. He also made an appearance in Game 2, where he pitched two shutout innings.
The Oakland A’s won Game 4 and forced a Game 5 in dramatic fashion. The game came down to the A’s final at bats. The Detroit Tigers headed into the top of the ninth inning with a 3-1 lead. After the Tigers pitching staff had kept the A’s relatively quiet, Tigers closer, Jose Valverde, one of the leagues’ best closers, came in to end the game and the A’s hopes. With no outs, right fielder Josh Reddick started the rally by singling to right field. Third basemen Josh Donaldson doubled to deep left center, while Reddick moved to third base. Designated hitter Seth Smith, who had struck out twice, doubled to deep right center scoring Reddick and Donaldson and tying the game 3-3. The A’s next two batters fouled out and struck out. Center fielder Coco Crisp stepped to the plate, with the memory of a dropped pop fly that scored two runs in Game 2 on his mind. Crisp drove a single to right field scoring Smith and wiping his error in Game 2 from the minds of A’s fans everywhere. The A’s beat the Tigers 4-3 in the top of the ninth to force a Game 5.
The Giants and A’s will continue to fight for a spot in the NLCS and ALCS, respectively.