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.
Giants’ right-hander Mark Melancon is considering surgery for an undisclosed injury, the pitcher told reporters prior to Friday’s game against the Phillies. Melancon did not divulge the exact location of the injury, but revealed that it had been plaguing him off and on since the 2012 season and was a separate issue from the right pronator strain that kept him sidelined through much of July and August. Giants’ head athletic trainer Dave Groeschner called the injury day-to-day and has not revealed a timetable for the right-hander’s return, should surgery become necessary.
Melancon, 32, has struggled to replicate the sparkling pitching line he produced with the Pirates and Nationals in 2016. He’s toting a 3.80 ERA through 25 appearances with San Francisco, flanked by a 1.1 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 23 2/3 innings. His season has been significantly shortened after multiple trips to the disabled list for a right forearm strain, and while he looked to be in line to resume his closing duties this week, the Giants will likely play it safe with the veteran righty to keep him from compromising his health in 2018.
Although the injury doesn’t appear to be severe in nature, it’s clearly intensified over the last few months. Per MLB.com’s Chris Haft, Melancon said he’s “had discomfort every day this season,” though he hopes to continue pitching through the remainder of 2017. The Giants aren’t on the verge of contending by any stretch of the imagination, but a solid end to the 2017 season could help Melancon make some headway as he looks to reclaim his status as the team’s closer next spring.
What happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object? Just ask Javier Baez, who tracked down a sizzling 106-MPH ground ball from Jose Bautista on Friday afternoon. The defensive gem helped preserve the Cubs’ three-run lead in the top of the ninth inning, paving the way for Wade Davis‘ 25th save of the season.
Baez also impressed at the plate, collecting an RBI single in the second inning before getting tagged out at home by Miguel Montero on a convoluted 9-6-3-6-2 putout. He returned in the eighth inning to pester Tim Mayza and cleared the left field hedge with a 409-foot, two-run blast for his 20th home run of the year. With the win, the Cubs improved to 64-57 and now hold a scant 1.5-game lead over the Brewers in the NL Central.