Arroyo gem puts Reds up 2-0 on Giants in NLDS

Associated Press Modified: October 8, 2012 at 3:46 am •  Published: October 8, 2012
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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Dusty Baker walked down the hallway in his former ballpark to cheers from Giants fans. He smiled, waved hello, offered handshakes, high-fives and hugs — even a few hang loose signs.

Baker is still beloved in the Bay Area 10 years after managing the Giants within six outs of a World Series title before falling short. That didn't change even after his Cincinnati Reds routed San Francisco 9-0 on Sunday night for a commanding 2-0 lead in their NL division series.

This time, it's the Reds riding some serious postseason momentum. Two years ago, the Giants made an improbable run to the city's first World Series championship and Cincinnati got swept out of the first round by the Phillies.

"You're not comfortable at all until it's over," Baker said. "We've been there before. It's hard to take the last breath out of anything."

Game 3 in the best-of-five series is Tuesday at Great American Ball Park. Homer Bailey (13-10), who pitched a no-hitter Sept. 28 at Pittsburgh, takes the mound as the Reds try to close out the series against Giants right-hander Ryan Vogelsong (14-9).

The Reds headed home to Ohio on quite a roll, thanks to a bunch of memorable firsts.

Bronson Arroyo won his first game in seven tries at San Francisco. Ryan Ludwick hit his first postseason home run, while Ryan Hanigan had his first playoff RBI.

More than anything on this night, it was Arroyo's turn to celebrate on what he figured to be a fun flight back to Cincinnati.

"We couldn't put ourselves in a better situation," he said. "It doesn't mean you're going to close it out, but for us personally, I know the fans are going to be as jacked as they have ever been in that ballpark since it has been built, which is going to be nice."

Arroyo retired his first 14 batters and delivered a gem a day after 19-game winner Johnny Cueto went down with a back injury.

A pair of Ryans provided the big hits. Ludwick connected leading off the second inning and Hanigan hit a two-run single in the fourth and a later RBI single. Jay Bruce added a two-run double and Joey Votto had three hits in his first multihit postseason game.

"Coming on the road, you think about getting one as a success and victory," Bruce said. "To be able to come here and get two is very important."

Many fans didn't stick around until the end to see the Giants get handed their worst playoff shutout in franchise history.

The Reds got their first playoff victory in 17 years by taking Game 1 without their ace Saturday night, and now they're going back home looking for their own sweep after the Phillies eliminated them in a frustrating three-game first round two years ago.

The Reds will try for their first postseason sweep since beating the Dodgers in the first round in 1995. Cincinnati got swept in the NL championship series that year by Atlanta to start what became a seven-game postseason losing streak.

The shaggy-haired Arroyo, the right-hander with that high leg kick slightly resembling the familiar motion of Giants Hall of Famer Juan Marichal, went untouched before Brandon Belt's two-out single to the gap in right-center with two out in the fifth. San Francisco didn't get another hit until Pablo Sandoval lined a double off the right-field arcade with two outs in the ninth.

"You hate to get beat like that, especially at home," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "It happened. We know where we're at right now. We know our backs are to the wall. We have to come out and be ready to play once we get to Cincinnati. I know they know what's at stake. They've done a great job all year bouncing back."