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Reds' 10th-inning error keeps Giants alive

The SportsXchange

CINCINNATI -- The season isn't over yet for the San Francisco Giants.

Buster Posey singled leading off the 10th inning and later scored on an error by Cincinnati Reds third baseman Scott Rolen, lifting the Giants to a tense 2-1 victory in Game 3 of the National League Division Series.

Cincinnati now leads the best-of-five series two games to one. Game 4 is Wednesday in Great American Ball Park, which would be the site of Game 5 on Thursday if necessary.

The Giants had just one hit on the night before the 10th inning.

"It's obvious, this game ... it was do or die for us, so it's good to get this one and move on," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "We couldn't do much early in that game. Thankful our pitching came through and we got a break at the end."

The irony of the finish is that Rolen was in the lineup, instead of NL Rookie of the Year candidate Todd Frazier, primarily for his defense. Before the game, Reds manager Dusty Baker said, "In the postseason, most of the games are going to be close. You're going to need defense. Keeping Frazier out right now is very tough."

In the 10th, Posey and Hunter Pence singled off Jonathan Broxton (0-1). With two outs, a passed ball moved the runners to second and third. Rolen bobbled Joaquin Arias' slow roller for an error, and Posey scored to put San Francisco ahead.

"It was a tough play," Baker said. "The ball came up on him at the last minute. (Rolen) is one of the best. You got to give the baserunner credit for hustling down the line."

Ryan Vogelsong, making his first career postseason start for San Francisco, allowed just one run on three hits in five innings. Four Giants relievers combined to shut out Cincinnati over the final five innings.

"(Vogelsong) just threw the ball really well to both sides of the plate," said Posey, the Giants' catcher. "He was able to run it in on the righties' hands, sink it to the lefties, threw some off-speed pitches behind in the count. I'm happy for him. He did a nice job."

Sergio Romo (1-0) pitched two perfect innings to earn the victory.

"If I get asked to pitch tomorrow, I'm very ready and willing," Romo said. "This is the playoffs."

Right-hander Homer Bailey, an emergency starter in a revamped Reds rotation with Johnny Cueto out due to an oblique strain, was equally impressive, limiting the Giants to one run and one hit through seven innings while matching his career high with 10 strikeouts.

Bailey, who no-hit the Pirates on Sept. 28, was dominant early in Tuesday's game, retiring the first six batters, three straight via strikeout. He fanned six consecutive batters, becoming the first Reds pitcher to do so in the postseason since Hod Eller in Game 5 of the 1919 World Series.

San Francisco's first hit was Marco Scutaro's two-out single in the sixth inning.

"Homer was lights out," Baker said. "He's getting better and better. Looked like they weren't seeing the ball very well off him, and he was ahead in the count for the most part."

Vogelsong elevated his pitch count in the first inning when he gave up one run, three hits and a walk over 30 pitches. Jay Bruce's single drove home Zack Cozart with the game's first run.

The inning could've been worse for the Giants had Brandon Phillips not been thrown out by Posey while trying to reach third on an errant pitch after stealing second.

"I was a little surprised (to see Phillips heading toward third), but I also know he's aggressive," Posey said. "He was running on the pitch, so I anticipated it."

San Francisco tied the score 1-1 in the third without a hit. Gregor Blanco was hit by a pitch, and Brandon Crawford walked. After Vogelsong bunted the runners to second and third, Blanco scored on Angel Pagan's sacrifice fly.

Vogelsong settled down after the first, retiring six consecutive batters in one stretch with three strikeouts. He walked Joey Votto and Ryan Ludwick with two outs in the third but got Bruce to fly out to left.

Vogelsong wound up throwing 95 pitches in five innings before he was lifted for a pinch hitter. He didn't give up a run or a hit after the first inning.

The Reds stranded four runners in the first three innings, seven in the game.

San Francisco, which has been swept only twice in a postseason series, is still alive.

"These are the types of games we've been playing all season long," Romo said. "This is an example of our will to fight, our will to survive."

NOTES: Cueto has a mild right oblique strain that could cause him to miss the National League Championship Series. Cueto, who left Game 1 of the NLDS after throwing just eight pitches, originally was diagnosed with back spasms. Among the candidates to replace him in the rotation Wednesday is right-hander Mike Leake, who is not on the postseason roster, or Mat Latos on short rest following a four-inning relief stint Saturday. If healthy, Cueto could pitch in the World Series. ... Tuesday's game was played before 44,501 fans, the second-largest crowd in Great American Ball Park history. ... The Giants' 9-0 loss Sunday in Game 2 of the series was the largest shutout defeat in the postseason in franchise history. "The first game, we hit the ball well," San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said Tuesday. "In the second game, we ran into a pretty well-pitched ballgame." ... Bochy has tabbed Barry Zito to start Wednesday's Game 4. The Giants have won each of Zito's past 11 starts, with the lefty going 7-0 with a 3.92 ERA in that span. Posey likely will catch Zito, Bochy said.

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