CINCINNATI - 9 News is LIVE at Great American Ball Park for Game 4 of the NLDS, where the Reds hope to pick up a win against the San Francisco Giants to clinch a trip to the NLCS. The Giants picked up the right hits at the right time to beat the Reds in Game 3 and bring the series to 2-1, forcing tonight's Game 4. Follow all the action as it unfolds below.
GAME OVER: Ludwick flies out to the first baseman Belt, and the Reds lose Game 4.
Bot 9th - Phillips strikes out to start the 9th swinging on a fastball. 1 out. Cozart hits a dribbler in front of the plate and is thrown out for the second out. Votto keeps it alive with a single to left and with two outs he's on first. Joey Votto steals second uncontested on the first pitch to Ludwick.
Mid 9th - Reds have a lot of work to do, and honestly they may want to start thinking about tomorrow. They don't have much of a turnaround from the time this game ends to the time tomorrow's begins (1:07 p.m.) so they may need to rest some of their guys. Pitching the 9th for the Giants will be Santiago Casilla. Brandon Belt also comes in to play first base.
Top 9th - Simon strikes out Arias to start the inning. Angel Pagan then draws a walk. Man on first with 1 out. Scutaro pops out to second for the second out. Pagan was running, and Sandoval rips one through the right side of the infield. Pagan advances to third. Men on first and third with two outs. A ground ball to Cozart from Posey wraps up the inning.
End 8th - This one looks dire for the Reds, and they'll be kicking themselves to have wasted such a good pitching performance in Game 3. Alfredo Simon comes into the game to pitch the 9th for the Reds.
Bot 8th - Frazier strikes out on another hart-biting breaking ball by Lincecum. 1 out. Navarro hits a bloop to right center that falls, and he's on first with no outs. Stubbs flies out to the shortstop for the second out. Chris Heisey pinch hits for the pitcher. Lincecum went to throw over to first, but the 1B Posey wasn't there, and Navarro advances to second. Doesn't mean anything though as Lincecum blows a high and inside fastball by Heisey for the last out.
Mid 8th - If the Reds don't get anything done this inning, it's going to be difficult for them to come back all in the 9th. Frazier is due up first, and a big leadoff hit from him could get this team going. Lincecum is still out on the mound for the Giants, so it won't be easy.
Top 8th - Hoover was high with his pitches throughout most of Sanchez's leadoff at-bat, and he walks him. Man on first with no outs. Hoover gets Blanco swinging on a high fastball for a strikeout and there is one away. The Giants attempted a hit and run, but Lincecum's swat went right at an already moved in Frazier, and he scooped it threw to second and Cozart threw on to first for the double play. Inning over.
End 7th - Lincecum looks like his old self, which is only appropriate for the success he's had in the postseason throughout his career (2.31 ERA). Hoover is on the mound again for the Reds. Any more runs and this one is truly over. The crowd is thinning out here, so it's clear some people think it is indeed already over.
Bot 7th - Joey Votto strikes out looking on a fastball that moved quite a bit from Lincecum. 1 out. Ludwick pops out to the second baseman for the second out. Bruce goes down swinging on a curveball in the dirt for the third out.
Mid 7th - This one is tough to swallow so far for the Reds, and the way it's been going, the Reds are going to need something close to a miracle to make this a game again. Tim Lincecum is still out on the mound, and he's been pitching strong so far. He's a great bullpen resource for the Giants to have and stay in the game for so long.
Top 7th (cont.) - Hoover gets a ground ball to Phillips from Pence, and the Reds turn the double play to end the inning. Damage done, though.
PITCHING CHANGE - J.J. Hoover will come into this one to try and clean up the mess. Arredondo didn't pitch all that poorly, but he left one just enough in the zone for Sandoval to finally get a good swing on a pitch this series, and a few others up that got just enough of the plate for the Giants to capitalize on.
SCORE ALERT: Pablo Sandoval finally showed up this postseason. He hits a 2-run home run on a 2-1 pitch into the Giants bullpen in right. 8-3 Giants. Arredondo walks Posey, and out comes Dusty Baker.
SCORE ALERT: Marco Scutaro pushes a double into left and Arias scores from third. Giants 6, Reds 3.
Top 7th - Joaquin Arias is earning the title "Reds killer". He leads off with a double on an inside fastball by Arredondo. A deep ball out to center by Pagan gets Arias over to third. 1 away.
End 6th - Giants 5, Reds 3. That's what we call chipping away. If the Reds can keep that kind of small ball up, they have a good shot as this one winds down. Jose Arredondo is the Reds' new pitcher.
Bot 6th (cont.) - Cozart fouls off seven pitches, but finally got under one too much and it's a fly ball out to center
field. Third out.
SCORE ALERT - Brandon Phillips lifts a long fly ball out to right and gets the sac fly to score Stubbs. Reds 3, Giants 5 with two outs.
Bot 6th - Stubbs rips a double down the third base line to get this one started. The crowd got off their feet and loud for that one. Miguel Cairo bats next for the pitcher's spot. Cairo checks his swing, but makes contact, and it acts like a bunt. He's thrown out at first, but gets Stubbs to third base with 1 out.
Mid 6th - Reds get more great relief pitching and the Giants' bats have hit a lull that the Reds need to capitalize on. Stubbs is due up, and LeCure will be pinch hit for, followed by the top of the lineup. No time like the present Redlegs.
Top 6th - Hunter Pence nails a high and outside LeCure pitch to right for a single. That's right in his wheelhouse. Man on 1st with no outs. LeCure beats Sanchez with a great curveball that drops out of the zone, but Sandoval was swinging. Strike 3. One out. LeCure pulls the same pitch to get Blanco on a K. Two outs. LeCure strikes out the side on a high and away fastball that has Lincecum looking. Nothing doing in this one.
End 5th - Giants 5, Reds 2. The Reds offense is growing complacent after they had all the answers in Game 2. The Reds are hanging their heads and the Giants pitching is straight up beating them more often than they are getting hits. They need a spark from somewhere, but three runs are going to be hard to find at this rate, and that's just to tie it.
Bot 5th - Bruce cracks one on the ground at Buster Posey, his first test in the field at 1B, but he handles it, tags the bag and records the first out. Frazier puts a good swing on a low-in-the-zone curveball, but didn't get all of it, and Blanco has it for the second out in left. Lincecum gets Navarro to strike out swinging on high heat, and the inning is over.
Mid 5th - The Reds have just left too many runners on base. The Giants haven't. That's the story of this game so far, and this is looking like the Reds offense we saw most of September. Eight men left on base for the Reds, just three for the Giants.
Top 5th - Posey goes deep, but Stubbs is there for the last out.
SCORE ALERT: LeCure's first pitch is a sac fly to center that scores Pagan. Giants 5, Reds 2 with two outs.
PITCHING CHANGE - Leake's day is done. The Reds delayed and called on Sam LeCure to take it from here. Leake finishes having given up five runs on six hits with two walks and one strikeout. LeCure pitched two shutout innings in Game 1, immediately after the Cueto injury.
Top 5th (cont.) - Scutaro bunts Pagan over to third, and there is one out.
SCORE ALERT - Pagan doubles to right also, scoring Arias. Giants 4, Reds 2.
Top 5th - Joaquin Arias leads off with a double down the left field line.
End 4th - Reds 2, Giants 3. Got to hand it to Giants manager Bruce Bochy, he's managing the pitcher-batter matchups much better this game than in any other so far. Calling in lefty Mijares to get Votto was the best move he's made all postseason. And the call to Lincecum was just as good to get Ludwick way out in front of some curveballs.
Bot 4th (cont.) - Lincecum fools Ludwick with two breaking balls in a row and strikes him out swinging. The Reds leave more men on base.
PITCHING GHANGE - Tim Lincecum jogs into this one to replace Mijares. The polar opposite of a reception Lincecum would receive in San Francisco, fans adamantly boo Lincecum's trip to the mound. Joaquin Arias also comes in to replace Brandon Crawford at shortstop. The double switch also swaps Lincecum's batting order to 8th and Arias' to 9th. Lincecum pitched two shutout innings in Game 2.
Bot 4th (cont.) - Mijares gets Votto swinging after getting ahead 0-2. Even though Joey brought it back to 2-2, he swung through a high fastball. Two outs.
PITCHING CHANGE - Lefty Jose Mijares comes on to replace Kontos. Tim Lincecum is still up and throwing in the Giants pen as well. Mijares got beat up by the Reds in Game 2, giving up three runs, two earned, without ever recording an out.
Bot 4th - Leake hit a hard bouncer to Scutaro, similar to the one that ate up Rolen in Game 3, and Leake is safe at first as Scutaro couldn't handle it. It's ruled a hit, but that was a generous ruling by the official scorer here. Knotos makes Phillips look clueless with a few offspeed pitches and strikes him out on three straight throws. 1 out. Cozart takes a first pitch fastball through the left side of the infield for a single. First and second with 1 out.
Mid 4th - Tim Lincecum was indeed warming up in the Giants bullpen that half inning, but Kontos has come back out for one more. Leake still doesn't have full control over his fastball, but the Giants are doing him favors by swinging early in counts on the backs of their earlier success. Side note: The Reds played a bit of audio over the loudspeakers for the first time this season that I can remember that resembled the new howling chant here of "Woo!" It got a few "Woos!"
out of the crowd, but it's interesting to see the organization play into a fan-born chant. Should we even call it a chant?
Top 4th - A Hunter Pence grounder to short gets him thrown out at first for out No. 1. Leake walks Sanchez after a few foul balls to put a man on with 1 out. A good at bat by Blanco, but Leake gets a pop up out of him to left for the second out. The sun isn't making it easy right now for the left fielders on routine pop ups, Ludwick had to work to find that one. Crawford pops one back behind the catcher, and Navarro records the third out.
End 3rd - Giants skipper Bruce Bochy went to his bullpen pretty early, a bullpen the Reds have had their way with other than in Game 3. We'll see if that pays off. With Tim Lincecum as an option in the pen, it's likely Bochy will go to him for a few innings at some point.
Bot 3rd (cont.) - Stubbs pops out to foul territory on the left side of the field to end the inning.
PITCHING CHANGE - And with that, Zito's short leash is pulled, and Giants reliever George Kontos comes into the game. Interesting choice, considering Drew Stubbs is the batter due up, followed by Mike Leake, not the two most threatening of hitters. Kontos has pitched 2.2 innings this series, and not given up a hit or a run to the Reds.
Bot 3rd - Jay Bruce pops a sky high out to Blanco in left for the first out. It's always funny to listen to how loud the crowd gets trying to distract the fielder, hoping he'll drop the ball as it falls to him. It rarely works that way. Frazier has a great sense of his strike zone, and has a great ability to foul balls off that aren't worth hitting, but still could be strikes. He showed that several times in this at-bat, but Zito beats him on a good 3-2 breaking ball for the second out. Navarro fouls a few off and shows patience, earning the fourth Barry Zito walk of the game.
SCORE ALERT: Ryan Ludwick waits on a 1-1 curveball and sends it outta here for a solo home run to left. Reds 2, Giants 3. His second homer of the series.
Mid 3rd - Great inning by Leake. He kept the ball down and low, not getting too much of the plate with that fastball. Reds have a chance to catch their breath and pick the offense back up.
Top 3rd - Scutaro hits a rope to right field, but Jay Bruce hops off his feet a bit to grab the out. 1 down. Sandoval hits a grounder to Votto, who has to knock it down and then field it, but he flips to Leake for the second out. Posey grounds a ball hard at Frazier, but he scoops it up and puts a good throw to first for the thirt out.
End 2nd - Reds 1, Giants 3. The Reds have been very patient with Zito so far, but haven't been able to get good hits when he does give them something worth hitting. It's been little dribblers here and pop ups there. Votto has been the only guy to make solid contact with his 1st inning single up the middle, but even that wasn't that special of a hit. This game has been eventful so far with Zito not making it easy on himself and the Giants hitters not making it easy on Leake. Leake needs to stop the bleeding now so the Reds can re-group.
Bot 2nd - Drew Stubbs is struck out on three inside pitches. Guess they scouted him, 1 out. Zito gets Leake swinging too on a high and outside fastball. Two outs. Phillips put a good swing on 2-1 pitch, but it sailed foul in left. The very next pitch he poked to the right side of the infield, and Scutaro couldn't handle it, a hit for Phillips. Man on 1st with two outs. Cozart puts a defensive swing on a 1-2 curveball, and got just enough of it up the middle where Scutaro couldn't reel it in this time either. Base hit for Cozart, two on, two outs for the hit-machine, Joey Votto. Votto gets under one, but pops it up into the sun. Left fielder Gregor Blanco has some trouble finding it, but comes up with it for the third out.
Mid 2nd - Leake has a fastball that always breaks from left to right, and once you know that as a hitter, you can pick up on where it's going to end up. When Leake gets too much of the plate with that fastball, no matter where it is in the zone, it's going to be given a ride. That's what has happened so far in this one with the Giants' two home runs. Crowd here got real quiet after that last long ball too. A single man could be heard yelling "Come on Leake! It's the playoffs!" You couldn't hear any one person during Game 3 here. Side note: The St. Louis Cardinals beat up the Washington Nationals pitching yet again today, shutting them out too for an 8-0 victory. They're up 2-1 in that series and have proved that they still have what it takes to be in the postseason.
Top 2nd (cont.) - Votto makes a great scoop on a low Cozart throw after a ground ball was hit by Brandon Crawford, but they get the out jus tin time. One away in the 2nd. Zito also grounds out to Cozart for the second out. Leake walks Pagan on five pitches. He's lost control of that fastball he had in the first inning. Pagan attempts to steal second, but a heck of a throw by Navarro to get
the final out.
SCORE ALERT: Gregor Blanco slams an 0-1 Leake fastball into the seats in right for a 2-run home run. Giants 3, Reds 1.
Top 2nd. - Hector Sanchez hits a scorcher in Joey Votto's direction, and he tried to stab it to his right on a one-hop, but couldn't get it. Man on 1st with no outs.
End 1st - Reds 1, Giants 1. Well, that was exactly what the Reds needed to do. Be patient with a wild Barry Zito. It's a whole new ballgame for Leake, who did look good in the top of the 1st. The Giants at one point even had someone warming in the bullpen, George Kontos, but they sat him down following the Zito strikeout to end the inning. It must have been the towels. The Reds crowd here got progressively louder after each walk, with a crescendo when Zito walked Frazier. Loudest they've been thus far this postseason.
Bot 1st (cont.) - Zito gets it together and strikes out Navarro swinging on a couple of good pitches to end the inning.
SCORE ALERT: Zito walks Frazier, and it's Reds 1, Giants 1. Remember, Zito did walk six Reds in a previous performance this year. Looks like the Reds learned from that.
Bot 1st - Brandon Phillips pops up an offspeed pitch from Zito to short left field for the first out. Zach Cozart put a good bat on a 72 mph breaking ball, but got under it enough for Hunter Pence to record the second out in right field. Joey Votto just continues to hit the ball. He tags a pitch up in the zone for a single up the middle to get to first. Ludwick works Zito to a 3-2 count and earns a walk. First and second with 2 outs for Jay Bruce. Zito is all over the place. He walks Bruce too. Bases loaded for August's hero Todd Frazier. The Giants pitching coach will come have a chat with Zito. Good patience by the Reds so far.
Mid 1st - The Giants get one on a good swing by Angel Pagan, just his second hit of the series, but Leake had good stuff the rest of the time. Sandoval's hit was on a pitch out of the zone, and Leake was otherwise painting the black with his fastball, a good sign despite the home run. With the two bats the Reds put in the lineup and the wind lining up like it is, the Reds are more likely to be able to match a home run or two off of Zito.
Top 1st - Leake gets Scutaro to pop out to right, but Pablo Sandoval follows by slugging a high and away fastball off the wall in left for a double. Man on 2nd with 1 out. Posey put one deep to right that was caught by Bruce, but deep enough to advance Sandoval to third. He's there with two outs. Leake throws a great fastball, offspeed, fastball combo to strike out Pence on three pitches and end the inning.
SCORE ALERT - Mike Leake throws a first pitch strike, but the very next pitch is hit out of the ballpark by Angel Pagan. Giants 1, Reds 0.
4:00 p.m. - The Reds have taken the field, and we're just about ready for first pitch, hopefully un-interrupted this time. The Reds have their red jerseys on today, which have been pretty good luck this year. We'll update per half inning from here on out.
3:57 p.m. - Reds radio announcer Marty Brennaman throws out the first pitch. A little inside, but he got it there. Update: Marty's hair is growing back nicely since he shaved it live at GABP a few months ago.
3:56 p.m. - The Mistics sang the national anthem, and killed it. They put on a good show.
3:50 p.m. - Here are today's official lineups: Reds: Phillips, Cozart, Votto, Ludwick, Bruce, Frazier, Navarro, Stubbs, Leake. Giants: Pagan, Scutaro, Sandoval, Posey, Pence, Sanchez, Blanco, Crawford, Zito. When Leake was announced, he got a good reception from the Reds faithful here, a good sign they have some trust in him tonight.
3:47 p.m. - They just did a look back at Homer Bailey's no-hitter on a the big screen, and had a ceremony on the field where Homer and Ryan Hanigan accepted a plaque commemorating the historic event. Nice work Homer. Good timing by the Reds too, celebrating after his also historic Game 3 performance (Reds postsesason-record 10 strikeouts).
3:37 p.m. - The Reds just clarified on the big board that when the Reds take the field, it's a "No Towel Zone." Can we also establish a "No Howl Zone"?
3:30 p.m. - Reds Fox Sports Ohio announcer Thom Brennaman was just spotted making coffee for press row. A nice gesture of his so close to first pitch to help out.
3:25 p.m. - In case you missed it yesterday, there was a fan who ran on the field just before first pitch of Game 3, which delayed the game by a few minutes. There isn't much of an increased police presence on the field today, but I see one or two more officers than they had last night. Here's the info on the incident: http://www.wcpo.com/dpp/news/local_news/ Rowdy-fan-runs-onto-field-at-Great-American-Ball-Park-delays-Reds-game .
3:15 p.m. - The ball park has filled up a lot slower today than in Game 3. The earlier start definitely explains that. Giants fans were lucky that both of the games in San Francisco fell on weekend evenings. It's that darn MLB playoff format this
3:05 p.m. - Both Giants and Reds players are in good spirits. The Giants yesterday were very grim, and the Reds were seemingly a little dazed from the trip back from the West Coast. But today, Phillips is all smiles, Jay Bruce and Joey Votto were laughing in the outfield, and several other of the Redlegs were loose and smiling (pictures above). The Giants too were spotted cracking jokes, with one pair of players playing pitcher and catcher when they were both field players. It's good to see the Reds not so uptight, even though they lost a tough one last night.
2:55 p.m. - The Reds looked really good in batting practice, the best they've looked all postseason. Brandon Phillips, Drew Stubbs and Zach Cozart in particular were hitting the ball really well, including several that cleared the fence. The slightly less windy weather this afternoon will hopefully help the Reds' bats, and the wind is blowing slightly out, which if that sticks at game time, the Reds should be able to put a few more on the board than last night.
2:50 p.m. - We're here live at GABP again, and the big news of the day is Mike Leake will get the ball to start tonight's Game 4 for the Reds. Some other lineup news, Todd Frazier is starting in place of Scott Rolen (as the Reds do many times when they play a later game followed by an earlier game) and Dioner Navarro will be catching in Ryan Hanigan's place. Those two have big bats, which is exactly what the Reds need to tak this series tonight after scoring only 1 run on four hits in 10 innings in Game 3. For the Giants, Hector Sanchez takes over behind the plate and Buster Posey will move to 1B, replacing Brandon Belt. Sanchez takes over Belt's spot in the lineup.
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