Buster Posey scored on a 10th-inning fielding error and the San Francisco Giants edged Cincinnati 2-1 on Tuesday to avoid being swept in their Major League Baseball playoff series.
The Reds, who have not won a playoff series since 1995, still lead the best-of-five National League division series 2-1, with game four scheduled in Cincinnati yesterday. A fifth game, if needed, would be in Cincinnati on Thursday.
The winner is to face either Washington or reigning World Series champion St Louis to determine a berth in the World Series final.
San Francisco managed only one hit in nine innings, but two singles in the 10th enabled them to produce the deciding run.
Posey led off the 10th inning for the Giants with a single and took second base on a single by Hunter Pence, who limped to first with a sore left-calf muscle.
Reds relief pitcher Jonathan Broxton struck out Brandon Belt and Xavier Nady, but the base runners advanced when Cincinnati catcher Ryan Hanigan failed to catch a throw from Broxton.
The Giants’ Joaquin Arias followed with a ground ball to Reds third baseman Scott Rolen, which was bobbled by the eight-time Golden Glove Award winner for fielding skills.
By the time Rolen made the throw to first base, Arias was safe at first and Posey had scored the go-ahead run for the Giants, who retired the Reds in order in the bottom half of the inning to seal the victory.
Cincinnati opened the scoring in the first inning when Zack Cozart walked, advanced to second on a Ryan Ludwick single and scored on a Jay Bruce single.
The Giants leveled at 1-1 in the third when Gregor Blanco was hit by a pitch, moved to second when Brandon Crawford walked, took third on a sacrifice bunt by pitcher Ryan Vogelsong and scored on Angel Pagan’s sacrifice fly out.
Vogelsong and four Giants relief pitchers combined to allow the Reds only one more hit over the next nine innings.
Cincinnati starting pitcher Homer Bailey, who hurled the Reds’ first no-hitter in 24 years two weeks ago, kept the Giants hitless through the first 5-2/3 innings before Marco Scutaro snapped an 0-for-10 drought with a single to right field.
Bailey struck out six Giants batters in a row at one stretch during his superb start and the 26-year-old right-hander finished with 10 strikeouts over seven innings, with only one hit allowed.
San Francisco did not manage another base hit until Posey and Pence struck in the 10th.
ATHLETICS 2, TIGERS 0
AFP, OAKLAND, California
Seth Smith blasted a solo home run to help spark the Athletics over the Detroit Tigers 2-0 on Tuesday and sustain Oakland’s hopes of winning their Major League Baseball playoff series.
The Tigers, who won the first two games of the series in their ballpark, still lead the best-of-five American League divisional series 2-1 with game four scheduled for yesterday in Oakland. The Athletics host game five today, if necessary.
Either Oakland or Detroit are to face Baltimore or the New York Yankees in the best-of-seven American League championship series to decide a berth in the World Series final.
Oakland starting pitcher Brett Anderson, who had not taken the mound in 20 days after an abdominal injury, hurled six shutout innings, giving up only two hits with two walks while striking out six to silence Detroit batters.
“I just wanted to go out and give us a chance to win. I’m glad we got it done,” Anderson said. “Couldn’t really script it, but it worked out. Hopefully we can keep going and win two more.”
The Athletics seized the lead in the first inning when leadoff hitter Coco Crisp singled to right field, advanced on a walk and scored from second base on a single by Yoenis Cespedes.
Crisp leaped high over the centerfield wall to made a grab off a Prince Fielder deep fly ball to deny the Detroit slugger a homer in the second inning.
“Coco robbing the homer kind of set the tone,” Anderson said.
Smith connected on his homer in the fifth inning to boost Oakland’s lead to 2-0 and three Athletics relief pitchers combined to strike out five while allowing only two hits in three scoreless innings after Anderson was lifted.
Australian right-handed relief pitcher Grant Balfour entered in the ninth inning, facing the heart of the Tigers’ batting order.
Balfour struck out Omar Infante and, after surrendering a single to Miguel Cabrera, induced Prince Fielder to hit into a game-ending double play.