ATLANTA - OCTOBER 11: Cody Ross #13 of the San Francisco Giants is congratulated by Madison Bumgerner #40 and Andres Torres #56 after hitting a home run during the 6th inning of Game Four of the NLDS of the 2010 MLB Playoffs against the Atlanta Braves on October 11, 2010 at Turner Field in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

2010 MLB Playoffs: Giants Advance To NLCS With 3-2 Win Over The Braves

The Giants beat the Braves 3-2 in game four of the NLDS to advance them to the NLCS. Use this link for more on the 2010 MLB Playoffs, and go to McCovey Chronicles for more on the team and the series, our Giants blog here at SB Nation.

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Giants-Braves NLDS Game Four: Giants Win 3-2, Advance To NLCS

Madison Bumgarner pitched a solid game for the Giants. Prior to the game, we noted that he was the youngest player on a Giants playoff unit since 1951, and the youngest pitcher to start any playoff game since 1984. You wouldn't have been able to tell by watching him though. He was far from shut-down, but he showed good poise and the ability to maneuver himself out of the occasional jam. Bumgarner went six innings and allowed six hits and two runs to pick up the win.

The Giants had strong performances from their pitchers for the most part throughout, as Bumgarner gave way to Santiago Casilla, who did his job well in the seventh, getting one out in the eighth and then giving way to Javier Lopez to pitch against Jason Heyward. Lopez got the out, and in the ninth gave way to all-star closer Brian Wilson. Wilson pitched a scary ninth inning, allowing a hit and walking another, before finishing the game with a groundout to pick up the save.

The Braves had some solid pitching too, especially from starter Derek Lowe, who was probably kept in too long. In the seventh, he allowed two baserunners (including an error) and had a visit from manager Bobby Cox. It was a brief exchange where Lowe convinced Cox to leave him in as Pat Burrell came up to bat. Lowe ended up walking Burrell and was pulled.

Cody Ross came up huge for the Giants in this game, hitting a home-run, and then driving in the game-winning RBI in the seventh. It put the Giants up 3-2, the final score. The seventh inning saw two runs, with the aid of an error, and Lowe ended up charged with two runs after leaving with the bases loaded.

It is the Giants first NLCS appearance since 2002. San Francisco will begin the NLCS on Saturday at Citizens Bank Park against the Philadelphia Phillies, who finished their sweep of the Reds on Sunday.

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Giants-Braves NLDS Game Four: Giants Take Lead Again, Courtesy Of Ross

More errors for the Braves helped along Aubrey Huff scoring a run off a Juan Uribe groundball. It tied the game at 2-2 with only one out on the board. Derek Lowe was pulled the second time Cox came out. Lowe had previously talked himself into pitching another batter, but ended up walking Pat Burrell

The bases were still loaded at that point, and Aaron Rowand came in to pinch hit for Mike Fontenot. Rowand struck out swinging after a brief catcher-pitcher meeting. Cody Ross game up and hit a single past third and second, Posey came in to score and Burrell followed, but his collision with the catcher resulted in the third out of the inning. Still, the Giants are now up 3-2 going into the 8th inning.

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Giants-Braves NLDS Game Four: Cody Ross Homers, But Braves Respond

Scratch the no hitter talk, as Cody Ross picked up the first Giants hit of the day - and it was a homerun. Lowe looks tired to an extent, but still appears to have good control over his arm as he limited the Giants to just that in the inning. 

And as I type this, Brian McCann hits a solo home-run on the first pitch from Bumgarner in the bottom of the sixth. With that, the Braves lead the Giants 2-1. After striking out one, Bumgarner allowed a hit to Heyward between first and second. They got Heyward out at second on the next play, but he slid into Freddy Sanchez to prevent the double play. Bumgarner struck out the next batter and we go to the seventh with a Braves 2-1 lead.

Be sure to join in on the gamethread over at McCovey Chronicles.

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Giants-Braves NLDS Game Four: Lowe Has No-Hitter Going Through Five, Braves Lead 1-0

Derek Lowe has a no-hitter going through five innings and the only Giants baserunner came on yet another error. Madison Bumgarner was decidedly better in the fourth and fifth innings, avoiding full-counts while throwing good pitches and letting his fielders do the work.

The Giants hitters are another story though, swinging at every single pitch. Aubrey Huff worked a 3-0 count before swinging at one-to-two for-sure ball-fours. That was a lot of hyphens, but the gist is that they need to lay off a little bit. Juan Uribe grounded out to close out the top of the fifth on the first pitch that took place before the video montage finished playing.

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Giants-Braves NLDS Game Four: Braves Go Up 1-0 In Third Inning

Mike Fontenot had another puzzling play in which he was high up on the baseline and couldn't make a diving catch, which, again, led to two runners on base.  Madison Bumgarner had struggles finding the strike zone throughout, working a full count seemingly every time. The Braves had three hits in the inning.

Guillermo Mota is warming up in the bullpen for the Giants. The Braves scored on a productive fly-out deep to right field. Join in on the new gamethread at McCovey Chronicles.

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Giants-Braves NLDS Game Four: Scoreless Through Two, Fontenot Errors

Is "errors," even the right term? Who knows, all I know is if I hear it pronounced "era," one more time I might give up on baseball altogether. The Giants and Braves are scoreless through two innings, and the Giants got themselves out of a jam in the bottom of the second.

With one on and two out, third baseman Mike Fontenot made a hectic throw to second to try and get the out instead of letting it go to first and getting the easy out to retire the side. The throw was high, and the Braves had two on with two out. Madison Bumgarner found himself pitching to Ankiel, where they, of course, showed the home-run from game two, and ended up walking him after working a full count. Pitcher Derek Lowe was up next, though, and he flew out on the first pitch to take us into the third.

Be sure to take part in the game thread from McCovey Chronicles, our San Francisco Giants blog.

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Giants-Braves NLDS Game Four: Giants Stick With Same Lineup, Braves Make Changes

The San Francisco Giants and Atlanta Braves released their projected lineups for tonight, with the Giants standing pat and the Braves making several changes. The most notable for the Braves is the inclusion of Troy Glaus in the lineup, and dropping Jason Heyward from 2nd to 6th.

Giants
1. Andres Torres, CF
2. Freddy Sanchez, 2B
3. Aubrey Huff, 1B
4. Buster Posey, C
5. Pat Burrell, LF
6. Juan Uribe, SS
7. Mike Fontenot, 3B
8. Cody Ross, RF
9. Madison Bumgarner, P

Braves
1. Omar Infante, 2B
2. Matt Diaz, LF
3. Derrek Lee, 1B
4. Brian McCann, C
5. Alex Gonzalez, SS
6. Jason Heyward, RF
7. Troy Glaus, 3B
8. Rick Ankiel, CF
9. Derek Lowe, P

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Giants-Braves NLDS Game Four: Giants Send Out Madison Bumgarner To Clinch First NLCS Since 2002

The San Francisco Giants send out rookie Madison Bumgarner against Derek Lowe in their first attempt to clinch a berth in the National League Championship Series since 2002. The Giants blew a a 1-0 lead and then rallied from a 2-1 deficit in the course of one inning to defeat the Atlanta Braves 3-2 yesterday afternoon.

The Braves are sending out Derek Lowe on three days rest, while the Giants have decided to go with their rookie Bumgarner instead of Tim Lincecum on short rest. Giants manager Bruce Bochy announced before yesterday’s game that Bumgarner would start, but that he would reserve the right to change his mind if he needed Bumgarner during game three. I’d imagine that would also indicate that had the Giants lost yesterday we might have seen Lincecum today on short rest. Instead, with the pressure off at least a little bit, the Giants will go with the rookie.

It’s not surprising that Bobby Cox would go with Lowe on short rest. Lowe has a bit of a rubber arm and is a playoff tested veteran. With the season on the line it makes sense to go with the veteran over rookie Brandon Beachy.

I’d imagine the Giants will end up with a similar lineup to the one they had yesterday. The decision to bench Pablo Sandoval and replace him with Mike Fontenot paid immediate dividends as he tripled in his first at bat and scored the first run of the game. I’d imagine the Giants will keep him in the lineup.

On the flipside, it sounds like the Braves are going with Troy Glaus at third and Omar Infante at second in place of Brooks Conrad. Given Conrad’s struggles in the field it’s not at all surprising that Conrad is headed to the bench.

Although a Giants win is welcome no matter what, if Bumgarner can help nudge the team to victory, it would potentially set up an NLCS Game One battle between Tim Lincecum and Roy Halladay. Even if you’re not a Giants or Phillies fan, any baseball fan can appreciate that kind of pitching matchup.

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Conrad's Errors Give Giants The Edge, Sanchez Strikes Out 11

Brooks Conrad had a costly error in the ninth, the third of the contest, which allowed Freddy Sanchez to score from second in the Giants 3-2 win over the Braves in game three of the NLDS. Aubrey Huff came up and drove in Travis Ishikawa in the ninth to tie the game with a single. With two outs, Buster Posey singled up the middle in between Conrad's legs.

Conrad was also responsible for the Giants first run in the second inning on a dropped pop-up. It's Conrad's eighth error in seven games. 

Giants starter Jonathan Sanchez pitched a good game and some believe he was pulled a little early. Sanchez pitched seven-plus innings and gave up two hits and one run while striking out eleven. Sergio Romo picked up the win for the Giants even though he pitched less than an inning and gave up a home run. Brian Wilson came in to the eighth inning and gave up one hit, a two-out single to Brian McCann, but Nate McLouth grounded out to end the game.

The Giants lead the series 2-1 and are looking to advance to the NLCS for the first time since 2002.

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Giants-Braves NLDS Game 3 Update: Brooks Conrad Does All He Can To Give Giants 3-2 Lead

The San Francisco Giants have climbed back from the brink of a 2-1 series deficit to take a 3-2 lead in the ninth inning. After Sergio Romo gave up a 2-run bomb in the bottom of the eighth, the Giants have brought out their own postseason magic to take a 3-2 lead off the vauted Braves bullpen.

After getting a pair of men on, Aubrey Huff managed a 2-out RBI single to tie the game 2-2. Bobby Cox brought in Peter Moylan who forced a grounder to second off the bat of Buster Posey. However, Braves 2B Brooks Conrad continued his run at postseason ignominy with his third error of the game. Two of those errors have cost the Braves two runs and potentially the ball game.

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Giants-Braves NLDS Game 3 Update: Eric Hinske Hits 2-Run Bomb Off Sergio Romo To Give Braves 2-1 Lead

Sergio Romo continued his postseason struggles as he has yet to record an out against three batters. After giving up back-to-back singles on Friday night, Romo had Eric Hinske down 1-2 but managed to give up a two-run homer on a 2-2 pitch. The blast blew a beautiful performance by Jonathan Sanchez, but more importantly, leaves the Giants down 2-1 heading into the ninth inning trying to avoid falling behind in this series two games to one.

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Giants-Braves NLDS Game 3 Update: Tim Hudson Breaks Up Jonathan Sanchez No-Hitter In Sixth Inning

After 5 1/3 no-hit innings, Jonathan Sanchez finally gave up a single to opposing pitcher Tim Hudson. After forcing a Rick Ankiel pop up, Hudson hit a clean single to right field. For those who don’t know, Hudson was a great hitter in college and while you never want to give up a hit to the pitcher, there’s no shame in Hudson getting a hit off of you.

Sanchez followed up the single with a pair of strikeouts, getting Omar Infante and Jason Heyward swinging. Sanchez has 10 strikeouts through six innings. The Giants will send up Cody Ross, Jonathan Sanchez and Andres Torres in the seventh inning. Head over to McCovey Chronicles to follow their Live Game Thread.

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Giants-Braves NLDS Game 3: Sanchez Dominant Through Five Innings of 1-0 Giants Lead

Giants pitcher Jonathan Sanchez has been lights out through five innings today as the San Francisco Giants maintain their 1-0 lead heading into the sixth inning. Sanchez has struck out eight Braves batters and walked one to maintain the Giant 1-0 lead.

The Giants head into the sixth inning sending up Buster Posey, Pat Burrell and Juan Uribe looking to add some insurance runs. Head over to McCovey Chronicles to join their Live Game Thread.

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Giants Take 1-0 Lead On Braves After Fontenot Triple, Conrad Error

The San Francisco Giants have taken a 1-0 lead in game three of the NLDS thanks to today’s lineup replacement Mike Fontenot. The new third baseman led off the second inning with a triple that led to Jason Heyward getting shaken up. Heyward had the ball in his glove as he hit the right-center field wall but the ball was jarred loose on a tough hit against the wall. Fontenot was able to race to third on the play.

Cody Ross followed that with a bloop to right field on which second baseman Brooks Conrad committed his second error of the game. As the announcers noted, Heyward likely could have gotten to that but the previous play might have left him a bit loopy.

For more on the game, check out McCovey Chronicles Live Game Thread.

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Giants-Braves NLDS Game Three: Mike Fontenot Replaces Pablo Sandoval At Third

John Shea is reporting that Mike Fontenot will replace Pablo Sandoval in the lineup and at third base today against the Braves. Sandoval is 1-for-6 at the plate with an error at third base in the LDS thus far. Throw in a September in which he hit .207 and it’s really not too surprising that he’s finally been benched.

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Giants-Braves NLDS Game Three: Jonathan Sanchez Looks To Outduel Veteran Tim Hudson

The San Francisco Giants look to bounce back from a tough Game Two loss to the Braves as they travel to Atlanta for Game Three. The Giants will send out Jonathan Sanchez to face veteran Tim Hudson.

Sanchez will be making his playoff debut and is coming off a 2010 regular season campaign in which he set career highs in virtually every category. Over his final seven starts, Sanchez pitched 43 2/3 innings giving up only 5 earned runs for an era of 1.16. Sanchez capped off the season in style winning the division clincher on the final day of the season. He’ll look to continue this hot streak into the postseason.

Hudson has made five career postseason starts all at the divisional series level. He’s 1-3 with a 3.97 era in eight starts and nine total appearances. The Braves have some other pitching woes to deal with as it appears Billy Wagner will not be available the rest of the series.

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Giants Bullpen Blows Lead, Ankiel Hits Extra Innings Bomb In 5-4 Braves Victory

San Francisco, CA (Sports Network) – Rick Ankiel’s one-out solo bomb into McCovey Cove in the 11th capped the comeback, as the Atlanta Braves recovered from an early four-run deficit to stun the San Francisco Giants, 5-4, and even their National League Divison Series at a game apiece.

Ankiel, whose postseason experience began with multiple wild pitches as a pitcher with St. Louis in 2000, hit his first career postseason home run for the Braves, who scored three runs in the eighth to tie the game and held off a bases-loaded, one-out threat from the Giants in the 10th.

“It’s hard to describe or put into words,” Ankiel said of his feelings. “The biggest homer of my career by far, and to be honest with you, I wanted to go from the batter’s box to the dugout. I didn’t want to run the bases.”

Atlanta’s offense looked to be headed toward a similar fate as Thursday’s 1-0 defeat at the hands of Tim Lincecum, scoring no runs through five innings, but the lineup came alive with two hits apiece from Ankiel, Omar Infante, Derrek Lee and Brian McCann. Playing most of the game without manager Bobby Cox, who was ejected in the second inning, the Braves were able to steal home-field advantage away from the Giants, with the series shifting to Turner Field on Sunday and Monday for Games 3 and 4.

Kyle Farnsworth (1-0), the seventh Braves pitcher of the evening, threw 1 2/3 scoreless innings, including inducing a double-play groundout from rookie sensation Buster Posey to end the 10th with the bases loaded.

Pat Burrell hit a three-run homer in the first inning, but the Giants ended the game with nine consecutive scoreless innings in the loss. Burrell was the only San Francisco player with more than one hit, also doubling later in the contest.

Matt Cain pitched well enough to win, allowing one unearned run on seven hits and two walks while fanning six in 6 2/3 frames. Sergio Romo, however, allowed two runs without recording an out, and closer Brian Wilson gave up another run — unearned — in two frames. Ramon Ramirez (0-1) served up Ankiel’s monster shot to take the loss.

“You have to (bounce back),” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “That’s how you do it because it’s part of the game. You know, they came back on us. And, you know, that’s a tough loss, no getting around it, but you have to bounce back.”

The Braves’ offense finally woke up in the eighth, tying the game with a three-run rally off the Giants’ bullpen.

Romo began the inning on the mound, and Lee greeted him with a single to left. McCann followed with a soft single to right, allowing Lee to scamper to third.

San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy opted to turn to Wilson to get the six-out save, but he came up short. Melky Cabrera sent a soft dribbler down the third- base line, and Pablo Sandoval’s throw pulled Aubrey Huff off first base, allowing Lee to score for a 4-2 game.

Brooks Conrad sacrificed the runners to second and third with a bunt, and Alex Gonzalez followed with an enormous two-run double into the gap in left-center, tying the game at 4-4.

The offenses went into hibernation until the 10th, when the Giants nearly won it.

Billy Wagner began the inning, and Edgar Renteria put down a perfect bunt toward the third base line that went for an infield single. Wagner looked to hold his side after the play, but stayed in the game, and Andres Torres put down another bunt to sacrifice Renteria to second.

On that play, after Wagner threw to first to record the out, he went down to one knee, grabbing his side and grimacing. He was forced to leave the contest with an undisclosed injury.

Farnsworth came on in relief and nailed Freddy Sanchez in the hand, and Sanchez immediately went down in a heap of pain. He stayed in the game, and Huff walked to load the bases with one out, but Posey grounded into a 5-4-3 double play to squander the opportunity.

“(Sanchez) finished the game,” Bochy said. “He’s another guy we’ll check on tomorrow we’ll see how he’s doing.”

Ankiel immediately made San Francisco regret its inefficiencies on offense, sending a moonshot into the water beyond right field with one out off Ramirez in the 11th. Farnsworth stayed on in the home half of the inning and pitched around a one-out single to lock down the victory.

“It’s been a long, fun journey,” Ankiel said “And I appreciate everything that’s happened. And I appreciate the Braves bringing me over here on the deadline. And what a fun thing, what a cool thing to be a part of, from Bobby retiring to all the way here. I mean, I can’t put into words how it feels.”

After both teams struggled to score on Thursday, the Giants jumped out quickly on Friday with one swing of the bat.

Sanchez singled with one away, and Posey drew a two-out walk. Burrell followed by crushing a three-run homer to left, a bomb that went deep into the seats.

Meanwhile, another controversial call by umpire Paul Emmel led to Cox’s ejection from the contest.

With one out, Gonzalez hit a ground ball deep in the hole to short. Juan Uribe came up with it and fired to first, where Huff appeared to come off the base at the last moment. Gonzalez was called out by Emmel, much to his dismay, and he was eventually held back in favor of Cox, who threw his hat down to warrant an ejection.

“I thought he was way off the bag at least six, eight inches,” Cox said. “And he calls him safe, Ankiel gets a base hit, Hanson bunts him over, and Infante, 3-2 game, maybe.”

Emmel was the second base umpire in Thursday’s game and called Posey safe at second when replays showed he was tagged out, leading to the game’s lone run.

Cain eventually got out of the inning unscathed and helped himself in the home second with an RBI single to plate Cody Ross, who had doubled a batter earlier.

The Braves put together their first threat in the fifth, when Infante walked to put runners on first and second with one out. Jason Heyward, however, grounded a Cain offering right to Uribe, who stepped on second and fired to first for the inning-ending double play.

Atlanta, though, finally broke through for its first run of the series in the sixth. Lee singled to begin the frame, moving to second when Burrell dropped the ball in the outfield. McCann followed with an RBI single to cut the Braves’ deficit to three, but Cabrera, Conrad and Gonzalez were all retired in order to end the threat.

Cain was lifted after giving up a two-out single to Infante in the seventh, and Javier Lopez came in and struck out Heyward looking to keep the margin at three.

Cox was ejected for the third time in postseason play. The majors’ all-time leader in ejections, Cox was also thrown out during the 1992 and 1996 World Series…Tommy Hanson, who was hit in the eye during batting practice on Thursday, started and gave up four runs on five hits in four innings…Burrell hit his fifth postseason home run and first with the Giants. He hit four with the Philadelphia Phillies…The Braves had 46 come-from-behind wins in the regular season.

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Giants Bullpen Blows Lead, Ankiel Hits Extra Innings Bomb In 5-4 Braves Victory

San Francisco, CA (Sports Network) – Rick Ankiel’s one-out solo bomb into McCovey Cove in the 11th capped the comeback, as the Atlanta Braves recovered from an early four-run deficit to stun the San Francisco Giants, 5-4, and even their National League Divison Series at a game apiece.

Ankiel, whose postseason experience began with multiple wild pitches as a pitcher with St. Louis in 2000, hit his first career postseason home run for the Braves, who scored three runs in the eighth to tie the game and held off a bases-loaded, one-out threat from the Giants in the 10th.

“It’s hard to describe or put into words,” Ankiel said of his feelings. “The biggest homer of my career by far, and to be honest with you, I wanted to go from the batter’s box to the dugout. I didn’t want to run the bases.”

Atlanta’s offense looked to be headed toward a similar fate as Thursday’s 1-0 defeat at the hands of Tim Lincecum, scoring no runs through five innings, but the lineup came alive with two hits apiece from Ankiel, Omar Infante, Derrek Lee and Brian McCann. Playing most of the game without manager Bobby Cox, who was ejected in the second inning, the Braves were able to steal home-field advantage away from the Giants, with the series shifting to Turner Field on Sunday and Monday for Games 3 and 4.

Kyle Farnsworth (1-0), the seventh Braves pitcher of the evening, threw 1 2/3 scoreless innings, including inducing a double-play groundout from rookie sensation Buster Posey to end the 10th with the bases loaded.

Pat Burrell hit a three-run homer in the first inning, but the Giants ended the game with nine consecutive scoreless innings in the loss. Burrell was the only San Francisco player with more than one hit, also doubling later in the contest.

Matt Cain pitched well enough to win, allowing one unearned run on seven hits and two walks while fanning six in 6 2/3 frames. Sergio Romo, however, allowed two runs without recording an out, and closer Brian Wilson gave up another run — unearned — in two frames. Ramon Ramirez (0-1) served up Ankiel’s monster shot to take the loss.

“You have to (bounce back),” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “That’s how you do it because it’s part of the game. You know, they came back on us. And, you know, that’s a tough loss, no getting around it, but you have to bounce back.”

The Braves’ offense finally woke up in the eighth, tying the game with a three-run rally off the Giants’ bullpen.

Romo began the inning on the mound, and Lee greeted him with a single to left. McCann followed with a soft single to right, allowing Lee to scamper to third.

San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy opted to turn to Wilson to get the six-out save, but he came up short. Melky Cabrera sent a soft dribbler down the third- base line, and Pablo Sandoval’s throw pulled Aubrey Huff off first base, allowing Lee to score for a 4-2 game.

Brooks Conrad sacrificed the runners to second and third with a bunt, and Alex Gonzalez followed with an enormous two-run double into the gap in left-center, tying the game at 4-4.

The offenses went into hibernation until the 10th, when the Giants nearly won it.

Billy Wagner began the inning, and Edgar Renteria put down a perfect bunt toward the third base line that went for an infield single. Wagner looked to hold his side after the play, but stayed in the game, and Andres Torres put down another bunt to sacrifice Renteria to second.

On that play, after Wagner threw to first to record the out, he went down to one knee, grabbing his side and grimacing. He was forced to leave the contest with an undisclosed injury.

Farnsworth came on in relief and nailed Freddy Sanchez in the hand, and Sanchez immediately went down in a heap of pain. He stayed in the game, and Huff walked to load the bases with one out, but Posey grounded into a 5-4-3 double play to squander the opportunity.

“(Sanchez) finished the game,” Bochy said. “He’s another guy we’ll check on tomorrow we’ll see how he’s doing.”

Ankiel immediately made San Francisco regret its inefficiencies on offense, sending a moonshot into the water beyond right field with one out off Ramirez in the 11th. Farnsworth stayed on in the home half of the inning and pitched around a one-out single to lock down the victory.

“It’s been a long, fun journey,” Ankiel said “And I appreciate everything that’s happened. And I appreciate the Braves bringing me over here on the deadline. And what a fun thing, what a cool thing to be a part of, from Bobby retiring to all the way here. I mean, I can’t put into words how it feels.”

After both teams struggled to score on Thursday, the Giants jumped out quickly on Friday with one swing of the bat.

Sanchez singled with one away, and Posey drew a two-out walk. Burrell followed by crushing a three-run homer to left, a bomb that went deep into the seats.

Meanwhile, another controversial call by umpire Paul Emmel led to Cox’s ejection from the contest.

With one out, Gonzalez hit a ground ball deep in the hole to short. Juan Uribe came up with it and fired to first, where Huff appeared to come off the base at the last moment. Gonzalez was called out by Emmel, much to his dismay, and he was eventually held back in favor of Cox, who threw his hat down to warrant an ejection.

“I thought he was way off the bag at least six, eight inches,” Cox said. “And he calls him safe, Ankiel gets a base hit, Hanson bunts him over, and Infante, 3-2 game, maybe.”

Emmel was the second base umpire in Thursday’s game and called Posey safe at second when replays showed he was tagged out, leading to the game’s lone run.

Cain eventually got out of the inning unscathed and helped himself in the home second with an RBI single to plate Cody Ross, who had doubled a batter earlier.

The Braves put together their first threat in the fifth, when Infante walked to put runners on first and second with one out. Jason Heyward, however, grounded a Cain offering right to Uribe, who stepped on second and fired to first for the inning-ending double play.

Atlanta, though, finally broke through for its first run of the series in the sixth. Lee singled to begin the frame, moving to second when Burrell dropped the ball in the outfield. McCann followed with an RBI single to cut the Braves’ deficit to three, but Cabrera, Conrad and Gonzalez were all retired in order to end the threat.

Cain was lifted after giving up a two-out single to Infante in the seventh, and Javier Lopez came in and struck out Heyward looking to keep the margin at three.

Cox was ejected for the third time in postseason play. The majors’ all-time leader in ejections, Cox was also thrown out during the 1992 and 1996 World Series…Tommy Hanson, who was hit in the eye during batting practice on Thursday, started and gave up four runs on five hits in four innings…Burrell hit his fifth postseason home run and first with the Giants. He hit four with the Philadelphia Phillies…The Braves had 46 come-from-behind wins in the regular season.

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Giants-Braves NLDS Game 2: Giants And Braves Batting Orders

Bruce Bochy has indicated he’ll stick with the same lineup from here on out. Assuming he means based on last night then we’ll see this from the Giants tonight:

1. Andres Torres, CF
2. Freddy Sanchez, 2B
3. Aubrey Huff, 1B
4. Buster Posey, C
5. Pat Burrell, LF
6. Juan Uribe, SS
7. Pablo Sandoval, 3B
8. Cody Ross, RF
9. Matt Cain, P

The Braves made some slight changes to their lineup according to Talking Chop:

1. Omar Infante, 3B
2. Jason Heyward, RF
3. Derrek Lee, 1B
4. Brian McCann, C
5. Melky Cabrera, LF
6. Brooks Conrad, 2B
7. Alex Gonzalez, SS
8. Rick Ankiel, CF
9. Tommy Hanson, P

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Matt Cain Tries To Live Up To Lincecum's Game One Performance In Game Two

Matt Cain takes the mound for the Giants in game two of the best-of-five series against the Atlanta Braves on Friday night. Cain comes in after Tim Lincecum pitched one of the better performances in his career, in Giants history, and in MLB postseason history, and whether we really remember it as such will likely be determined by the result of the series as a whole. So, again, enter Matt Cain.

Cain finished the regular season at 13-11 with an ERA of 3.14 and appeared to be the Giants best pitcher going into a potential playoff-clinching game against the Padres in his last start of the season, but didn't survive the contest in good form, getting taken for six runs in four innings. Cain is 2-2 with a 4.03 ERA in five career starts against the Braves.

Tommy Hanson, who had a minor scare with a rogue baseball to the face during batting practice on Thursday but appears to be fine, will see the mound for the Braves in game two of the National League Division Series. Hanson is sporting a 3.33 ERA with a 10-11 record this season. The ERA is the important figure there, as Hanson has definitely pitched better than his record indicates, and this game is promising to once again be a pitching duel.

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Lincecum Strikes Out ... A Lot Of Batters, Giants Win Game One

Tim Lincecum was sensational for the Giants in game one of their playoff series against the Braves. Lincecum pitched a complete game, allowing two hits and no runs while striking out an impressive fourteen batters en route to his first playoff victory of his career. Lincecum set a franchise postseason record with his fourteen strikeouts, besting the previous record of ten.

It was a pitching duel though, as Derek Lowe had a decent outing, but it wasn't enough to push him above Lincecum's dominating performance for the Giants. In the third, the Giants had three in scoring position and weren't able to score any of them, but in the next inning, Buster Posey came through. He singled to open the inning and stole second, it was an incredibly close steal that will definitely be questioned in the coming days. It already is. But Cody Ross came up after a Juan Uribe strikeout and intentional walk on Pablo Sandoval, and he drove in the RBI single.

From there, it was cruise control for Lincecum, who never seemed to struggle throughout. Of Lincecum's 119 pitches, 75 of them were strikes.

The Giants and Braves will play Game two of the series Friday at AT&T Park. Matt Cain is scheduled to pitch for the Giants.

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Giants-Braves 2010 NLDS: Giants Announce NLDS Postseason Roster

The San Francisco Giants announced their 25-man roster for the National League Divisional Series and there are certainly some surprises. Barry Zito is not on the roster which is not a surprise. However, Jose Guillen is also off the roster (like in place of Nate Schierholtz) and I do find that a bit surprising.

Guillen is apparently being left off due to a sore neck. This was a man who once played a month for the Oakland A’s with a broken bone in his hand in an effort to get them to the postseason. That was also several years ago so I guess age is catching up wtih Guillen. In 42 games for the Giants this season he hit .266 but he had some of the biggest hits imaginable. Henry Schulman also points to his proclivity for hitting ground balls, which would be huge against the likes of Derek Lowe and Tim Hudson. So, at the end of the day I suppose it makes some sense.

Head on over to McCovey Chronicles to discuss the team’s postseason roster.

Pitchers (11)

41 Jeremy Affeldt LHP
40 Madison Bumgarner LHP
18 Matt Cain RHP
46 Santiago Casilla RHP
55 Tim Lincecum RHP
49 Javier Lopez LHP
59 Guillermo Mota RHP
52 Ramon Ramirez RHP
54 Sergio Romo RHP
57 Jonathan Sanchez LHP
38 Brian Wilson RHP

Catchers (2)

28 Buster Posey C
22 Eli Whiteside C

Infielders (7)

14 Mike Fontenot IF
17 Aubrey Huff IF
10 Travis Ishikawa IF
16 Edgar Renteria IF
21 Freddy Sanchez IF
48 Pablo Sandoval IF
5 Juan Uribe IF

Outfielders (5)
9 Pat Burrell OF
13 Cody Ross OF
33 Aaron Rowand OF
12 Nate Schierholtz OF
56 Andres Torres OF

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Giants-Braves 2010 NLDS: Q&A Between Bloggers

The fine folks at McCovey Chronicles and Talking Chop each put together a list of seven questions about the opposing team as they head into tomorrow’s Game One of their 2010 National League Divisional Series.

Talking Chop answered questions on issues ranging from all things Bobby Cox and his imminent retirement to the emergence of Jason Heyward to the Braves otherwise patchwork outfield.

McCovey Chronicles answered questions focusing primarily on their starting pitching and bullpen and also provided some less than serious predictions.

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2010 NLDS: Bruce Bochy Announces Giants Rotation Options

San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy spoke on KNBR 680 earlier today about his plans for the Giants postseason roster and laid out his rotation thoughts.

Bochy announced that the first three pitchers would be Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, and Jonathan Sanchez. If Game 4 was necessary, he would go with either Madison Bumgarner or Tim Lincecum on short rest. This would indicate that Barry Zito’s only hope of making the roster in the divisional series (and maybe further) would be in long relief.

This, combined with Bobby Cox’s announcement earlier in the day would provide the following matchups:

Game One (Thurs 10/7): Tim Lincecum vs. Derek Lowe

Game Two (Fri 10/8): Matt Cain vs. Tommy Hanson

Game Three (Sun 10/10): Jonathan Sanchez vs. Tim Hudson

Game Four (if necessary – Mon 10/11): Derek Lowe/Brandon Beachy vs. Tim Lincecum/Madison Bumgarner

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2010 NLDS: Braves Announce First Three Starting Pitchers Versus Giants

The Giants and Braves have until Thursday to get their postseason rosters in order but other decisions are coming out in the days leading up to the start of the 2010 Major League Baseball postseason.

Atlanta announced their first three starting pitchers for the Divisional Series. While the announcement isn’t shocking, it’s the first official confirmation of the information. The Braves will send out Derek Lowe in Game 1, Tommy Hanson in Game 2, and Tim Hudson in Game 3. If the series goes a fourth game, Bobby Cox will go with either Lowe on three days rest or rookie Brandon Beachy. SB Nation Atlanta indicated Cox was leaning towards going with a three man rotation.

The folks at Talking Chop are discussing the various postseason roster decisions facing the Braves.

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2010 NLDS: Barry Zito Might Be Left Off Giants Postseason Roster Versus Braves

The San Francisco Giants will announce their 2010 Divisional Series roster by Thursday morning and the one holdup is whether to include Barry Zito. Bruce Bochy will apparently go with an 11-man staff but is trying to decide between Zito and Madison Bumgarner as a potential fourth starter.

If the team went with Bumgarner, Zito has little value in relief so that could cost him. Given the long history of ups and downs Giants fans have had with Zito, Grant at McCovey Chronicles discusses whether Zito should start.

Under normal circumstances, this would be an easy question to answer. The guy wasn’t one of the four best starting pitchers for the Giants this year. This isn’t rocket science.

Cold, hard analysis will only take you so far, though. Forget that Zito is just as likely to walk a guy as is Jonathan Sanchez, but without the same strikeout stuff. Just start thinking about the experience. Zito has been there before. He’s pitched well in the postseason for the most part. It’s something to at least consider.

Knowing what we know now, though, it’d be hard to put Zito in the postseason rotation. He really was miserable against the Padres when the Giants needed something more for their money.

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