UPDATE: And now Ryan Ludwick hits a big blast in the bottom of the sixth, making it 6-3 Giants. It may just be a ballgame yet.
2:54 PM: The Reds get two back in the bottom half of the inning on a Brandon Phillips double, so it’s now 6-2 Giants.
2: 36 PM: Mat Latos and Matt Cain dueled for four innings, but someone has finally broken through: the Giants. They have busted it wide open, thanks to a Mat Latos meltdown and then a Buster Posey grand slam. San Francisco leads it 6-0 in top of the fifth. And they’re still batting as this post goes live.
Gregor Blanco led off the inning with a single and scored when Brandon Crawford tripled to right. That was followed up with a Matt Cain grounder to the mound. Then Angel Pagan hit a bounder to Zach Cozart at short, who bobbled it, allowing Crawford to score on the error. A four pitch walk to Marco Scutaro followed, bringing Pablo Sandoval to the plate, who singled to left. Based loaded, one out.
Buster Posey then came up to the plate, took the count to 2-2 and then launched titanic blast to right field. 6-0 and a stone cold silent crowd in Cincinnati. MVP anyone?
Dusty Baker has gone in to make a pitching change. It is probably too little too late. Wow.
If the Giants hold on here, we’ll have some history. No NL team has ever lost a division series after winning the first two games and no team in either league has ever taken a 2-0 lead in a five-game series and lost the next three all at home.
But the Reds just might.
Update (7:01 PM EDT): David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports the deal has been completed.
ESPN’s Keith Law reported on Saturday evening that a bad contract swap involving the Braves’ Hector Olivera and the Padres’ Matt Kemp was “getting close.” Olivera has been pulled off the field, per Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that only a last-second medical would kill the deal at this point, and that the Padres will be sending money to the Braves.
Kemp, 31, will have $64.5 million remaining on his contract through 2019 after this season, but the Dodgers will pay $3.5 million annually over those remaining three years, so the $64.5 million is really $54 million. The veteran has compiled a .262/.285/.489 triple-slash line with 23 home runs and 69 RBI in 431 plate appearances for the Padres this season.
Olivera, 31, will have $28.5 million remaining on his contract through 2020 after this season. The outfielder was handed an 82-game suspension, beginning on May 26, for his involvement in a domestic dispute on April 13. The suspension is up on August 2. He has a .501 OPS in 21 major league at-bats this season and a .278 OPS in 37 PA at Triple-A.
Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the Padres will consider designating Olivera for assignment. The trade is all about the salary dump for the Padres, as they’d rather give outfield playing time to prospects Hunter Renfroe and Manuel Margot.
The Athletics and Royals swapped outfielders on Saturday. The Athletics sent Billy Burns to Kansas City and the Royals sent Brett Eibner to Oakland.
Burns, 26, doesn’t provide much in the way of offense, but he runs the bases well and plays solid defense. He was hitting .234/.270/.303 with 11 doubles, four triples, and 14 stolen bases in 274 plate appearances.
Eibner, 27, was batting .231/.286/.423 with three home runs and 10 RBI in 85 plate appearances. He has spent most of the season with Triple-A Omaha, where he’s put up a .902 OPS in 219 PA. Eibner played the outfield corners in the majors, but racked up a ton of time playing center in the minors, so his versatility will be valuable to the A’s.
Burns will become eligible for arbitration for the first time after the 2017 season while Eibner has hardly accrued any service time, which might explain part of the motivation behind the trade for the small-market Athletics.