Giants back in front with shutout
Matt Cain was on his game, shutting out the Phillies with seven solid innings Tuesday. That Giants take a 2-1 series lead with a 3-0 victory at home. Now all the Giants need to do is split at home and split on the road. Of course, we’d be perfectly happy with two more wins at home.
The Giants starters have posted three quality starts in three games. And the Giants have produced just enough runs to get the wins.
It bodes well for the Giants that Cain will be in position to pitch Game 7, if the series goes that far. He has yet to give up a run in two starts in the postseason.
CODY ROSS: The postseason continues to be the Cody Ross Story. For the first time in five postseason games, Ross DID NOT get the Giants’ first hit of the game. But for the fourth consecutive game, Ross’s first hit of the game drove in the Giants’ first run. In fact, if you go back to Game 3 of the NLDS, the fly ball that was dropped by the Braves’ Brooks Conrad, allowing Mike Fontenot to score from third, came off the bat of … Cody Ross.
On Tuesday, Ross came up with two on and two out when he dug out a low pitch from Cole Hamels and raked it into left field to score Edgar Renteria.
Ross opened the series hitting No. 8. In Game 2, he moved up to the No. 6 spot. On Tuesday, he was batting No. 5. Ross made Bruce Bochy looked smart.
EARLY-INNING BLUES: For the fourth consecutive game, the Giants failed to muster a hit in the first or second innings.
Atlanta’s Derek Lowe had a no-hitter in the sixth inning when Ross homered for the Giants first hit.
Roy Halladay had set down the first seven batters he faced when Ross homered with one out in the third inning.
Roy Oswalt did not allow a hit through 4 1/3 innings when Ross homered in the fifth for the first hit.
On Tuesday, Cole Hamels set the Giants down in order the first time through the order. Edgar Renteria got the first hit with a lead-off single in the fourth.
Beating the Phillies is not going to be easy. But it would be easier if the Giants could get some baserunners on early in the game.
TWO-OUT MAGIC: All three of the Giants’ runs in Game 3 were scored with two outs.
In the fourth, Renteria led off with a single to right. Freddy Sanchez sacrificed him to second (is it me, or does Sanchez look really uncomfortable getting down a bunt; not what you want to see from your No. 2 hitter).
It looked like the Giants’ chance to score may get away when Buster Posey swung and missed on ball four. It was the kind of swing on a head-high fastball that you would expect from Pablo Sandoval, Juan Uribe or Andres Torres. But not Buster Posey.
But then Pat Burrell worked a walk and Ross connected with the big hit. Then Aubrey Huff got another hit to single the squirted off Chase Utley’s glove.
In the fifth, Aaron Rowand led off with a double to left. But he was still there with two outs and looked like he might remain there when Freddy Sanchez hit the ball to Chase Utley. But it turned into a bad-hop single off Utley into center, scoring Rowand.
Little things going the Giants’ way. We’ll take it as a good sign.
NEW LINEUP: Bochy realized that Andres Torres was struggling and it wasn’t likely going to get any better with him batting right-handed against a tough left-hander. So Torres went to the bench. The move worked when Renteria, who moved into the leadoff spot by default, had a big hit to get the Giants’ rally started. And Rowand, starting in place of Torres in center, got a double in the fifth.
The revamped lineup was a product of facing a tough lefty in Hamels. Bochy said that Torres should be back in the lineup Wednesday against righty Joe Blanton. But will we see Pablo Sandoval at 3B instead of Mike Fontenot against the right-hander?