(Reuters) - The San Francisco Giants took advantage of two Cincinnati miscues to beat the Reds 2-1 in 10 innings and avoid elimination from the National League Division Series on Tuesday.
The visiting Giants, who had just one hit in the first nine innings, broke through in the 10th thanks to a passed ball and an error to beat Cincinnati, who lead the best-of-five playoff series 2-1.
”This game was do or die for us,“ Giants manager Bruce Bochy told reporters. ”We were in a position to have to win.
“These guys fought hard ... and we got a break there at the end.”
The Giants, who also struggled at the plate on Sunday with just two hits in a 9-0 loss, were held hitless until the sixth by Reds starter Homer Bailey but got singles from Buster Posey and Hunter Pence to start the 10th against reliever Jonathan Braxton.
Braxton struck out the next two hitters, but a pitch to Joaquin Arias glanced off the glove of catcher Ryan Hanigan and allowed the runners to move up a base.
Eight-times Gold Glove-winning third baseman Scott Rolen then bobbled a grounder by Arias, who beat the throw to first base and allowed Posey to score from third for the go-ahead run.
”It was a tough play,“ Reds manager Dusty Baker said of Rolen’s error. ”The ball came up on him at the last minute. This guy is one of the best.
“You got to give the baserunner (Arias) credit for hustling down the line at the same time. Most guys, they’re out on that ball. That was just a series of bad events .. the (passed ball) and then the error.”
Reliever Sergio Romo, the fifth pitcher used by San Francisco, blanked Cincinnati in the final two innings to earn the victory on a night when pitching dominated.
”In the dugout, everyone was up and fired up and saying, ‘We can get it done. We’ve got to this is now,'“ Romo said about heading out for the 10th. ”And there is no lack of belief on this team. We believe in ourselves, and we go out there and play hard. The emotion is definitely there.
“We’re a high-strung team and we have a lot of energy and being able to take that into the top of the 10th and get ahead, I mean, it’s huge for us.”
The Giants struck out 16 times against the four Reds pitchers, though Cincinnati could only muster four hits themselves.
Bailey, who 12 days earlier had thrown a no-hitter against the Pittsburgh Pirates, flirted with another as he kept the Giants hitless until two outs in the sixth when Marco Scutaro lined a single to right.
The right-hander, throwing his 95 miles per hour fastball with precision, struck out 10 but gave up his 1-0 first-inning lead when San Francisco scored in the third on a hit batter, a walk, a sacrifice bunt and sacrifice fly.
Bailey went seven innings while Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong kept the Reds off balance in his five innings.
In avoiding a three-game sweep, the Giants extended the series to Game Four on Wednesday at Cincinnati’s Great American Ball Park.
Reporting by Larry Fine in New York, Editing by Peter Rutherford/Greg Stutchbury