Watch live Premier League action:

Arroyo baffles Giants as Reds cruise to 2-0 series lead

The SportsXchange

SAN FRANCISCO -- Bronson Arroyo enjoys pitching to Ryan Hanigan because he believes the catcher can think out of the box right along with him.

They sure clicked Sunday. Arroyo pitched one-hit ball over seven innings to lead the Reds past the San Francisco Giants 9-0 as Cincinnati took a 2-0 lead in the National League Division Series.

"He picks up on me so fast that it's a lot easier for me to get into my game plan," Arroyo said of pitching to Hanigan, who helped the Reds' cause by driving in three runs. "He knows what I am trying to do."

The Reds return home for Game 3 on Tuesday needing to win just one of three games at Great American Ball Park to advance to the NL Championship Series. Cincinnati is on the verge of sweeping a postseason series for the first time since beating the Los Angeles Dodgers in three straight in the 1995 NLDS.

"The job is not finished yet," Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips said. "You have to win at home as well as on the road. I hope I see a lot of people come out at home. It should be great."

Cincinnati's Ryan Ludwick hit a home run and Jay Bruce drove in two runs Sunday. Scott Rolen, Drew Stubbs and Phillips each added an RBI.

Arroyo, who has five regular-season shutouts, including one against the Giants in 2006, won for the first time in San Francisco. He yielded only Brandon Belt's two-out single in the fifth inning and a two-out walk to Buster Posey in the seventh, retiring the other 21 batters he faced. Both Belt and Posey were stranded at first.

"The first inning is always going to be your toughest to command your pitches just because of the emotion of the game," Arroyo said. "The first few hitters you're just trying to throw strikes."

Arroyo struck out four -- with the whiffs coming consecutively in the second and third innings.

Reds manager Dusty Baker has been on the other side of the 2-3 division series setup. When he was managing the Giants in 1997, the wild-card Florida Marlins won the first two games at home and finished the sweep at Candlestick Park en route to the World Series title.

A day after losing their starting pitcher in the first inning, the Reds received a strong outing from Arroyo, allowing most of the bullpen to take the day off.

"Bronson flirted with a no-hitter a couple of starts ago," Baker said. "He's been throwing the ball well and I thought with this forgiving ballpark, it was right for him."

After Johnny Cueto left Saturday's game with back spasms, Baker needed five more pitchers to get through a 5-2 win, with a sixth getting ready when the game ended.

Cincinnati broke open Sunday's game with a five-run rally in the eighth inning. Bruce doubled home two runs against reliever Jose Mijares to make it 6-0, sending a wave of disappointed Giants fans out into a calm, cool San Francisco night. Run-scoring hits by Hanigan, Stubbs and Phillips further thinned the crowd, announced at 43,505.

Pablo Sandoval doubled with two outs in the ninth, bringing Posey to the plate and prompting the chant, "M-V-P, M-V-P." Posey walked, but Jose Arredondo retired Hunter Pence on a grounder to end the game.

The Giants suffered the worst shutout loss in the postseason in franchise history, and their first postseason shutout since the Mets' Bobby Jones tossed a one-hitter at them on Oct. 8, 2000.

"You hate losing a game like that, especially at home," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "We know where we're at. Our backs are to the wall."

San Francisco starter Madison Bumgarner, who was undefeated in four postseason appearances in the 2010 run to the World Series title, lasted 4 1/3 innings, allowing four runs on seven hits. He walked one and struck out four.

"I felt like I made some pretty good pitches and they just hit it where we weren't," Bumgarner said. "That's what it seemed. They hit a couple balls hard, but it seemed like a lot of them just happened to find holes."

Ludwick gave the Reds an early lead with his second-inning home run, and Cincinnati tacked on three more in the fourth.

Joey Votto and Ludwick opened the fourth with singles. After Bruce fouled out to third, Rolen singled home a run, and Hanigan followed with a two-run single.

"So far we've played some pretty good baseball," Ludwick said. "We don't want to take anything for granted. That's a good team over there and they are capable of winning three in a row, too."

Zack Cozart and Votto each singled with one out in the fifth to end Bumgarner's night. Reliever George Kontos came on and induced Ludwick to hit into a double play and end the threat.

Tim Lincecum entered to start the sixth for the Giants, and he threw two scoreless innings. Lincecum has made only one relief appearance in 189 career regular-season games, but he pitched once in relief during the 2010 NL Championship Series against the Phillies.

NOTES: Ludwick was 1-for-16 against Bumgarner before collecting hits in his first two at-bats Sunday. ... Bumgarner allowed five home runs at home during the regular season. ... Bumgarner did not get past the fifth inning for the fifth time this year. ... Right-hander Homer Bailey will start Game 3 for the Reds. He was 3-1 with a 1.85 ERA in his final seven regular-season starts. Bailey is 1-0 with a 5.89 ERA in five career starts against the Giants. He'll oppose San Francisco right-hander Ryan Vogelsong, who will be making his first career postseason appearance. Vogelsong is 2-3 with a 5.08 ERA in 15 games, eight starts, against the Reds. He last beat Cincinnati as a starter in 2003. ... NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana received a standing ovation when he was shown on the big screen. ... Actor Charlie Sheen was met with a round of boos when he was shown on the scoreboard screen wearing Cincinnati colors.
Sign up for Yahoo Fantasy Football
View Comments (6)