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Comebacks By Phillies, Braves Make For Exciting Day 3 Of MLB Playoffs

Daniel Watson |
October 9, 2010 | 10:58 a.m. PDT

Staff Writer

Cincinnati Reds vs. Philadelphia Phillies

Game 2 recap: Errors doomed the Reds as they blew a 4-0 lead in a 7-4 loss to the host Phillies.

Cincinnati — which is in the postseason for the first time in 15 years — is one loss from elimination in the National League Division Series.

On Roy Oswalt’s fourth pitch, Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips smacked a leadoff homer for ‘Nati, which added single runs in the second, fourth and fifth innings. Along the way, Jay Bruce provided a solo shot.

But it was Bruce’s error in the seventh that did in the Reds.

The Phillies, having already rallied to a 4-3 deficit, scored the tying and winning runs after Bruce lost a flyball in the lights.

The ball rolled past Bruce, allowing Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins to score.

Key moment:
The Reds may have set a club record during the regular season, sporting a .988 fielding percentage, but they made four errors that led to five runs.

None of those four was bigger than Bruce’s drop in right field.

Game changer: Utley’s two-RBI single got the Phillies on the board in the fifth against hurler Bronson Arroyo.

But Utley’s biggest contribution came in the seventh. All he had to do was take one on the forearm — allegedly — from flamethrower Aroldis Chapman. The 101 mph bean ball put him on first. Later in the inning, Utley scored the tying run on Bruce’s error.

Play of the game: Third baseman Placido Polanco’s diving grab on a hard-hit grounder shut the door on the Reds in the ninth, preserving Brad Lidge’s 11th straight postseason save. It’s the second longest streak in postseason history.

Unsung hero: The lights at Citizens Bank Park.

Quotes of game: “We beat ourselves and it sucks.” – Reds’ Brandon Phillips

On losing the ball in the lights: “The most helpless feeling I’ve ever had on a baseball field. I was hoping by some miraculous something it would land in my glove.” – Reds’ Jay Bruce

On whether he was hit by the 101 mph fastball: “I’m not sure. I felt like it might have grazed me.” – Phillies’ Chase Utley

San Francisco Giants vs. Atlanta Braves

Game 2 recap: Down three runs, the Braves got to Giants closer Brian Wilson in the eighth inning before Rick Ankiel became the hero in the 11th.

Ten years ago, Ankiel the pitcher imploded in the National League Central Division Championship as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals. During one inning, he threw five wild pitches.

On Friday night, he erased those memories with a monumental blast into McCovey Cove. The solo shot in the top of the 11th proved to be the winner, spoiling the second straight strong start from a Giants pitcher in the playoffs.

Matt Cain allowed seven hits and one unearned run in 6 2/3 innings pitched.

The Giants got on the board in the first inning on Pat Burrell’s three-run blast. Cain helped his own cause in the second inning with an RBI single.

The Braves did not rally until the eighth inning. Brian McCann singled home the first RBI before a costly throwing error by Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval allowed the second run to cross the plate.

Wilson — who saved a club-tying record 48 games for the Giants during the regular season — issued a double to Alex Gonzalez that tied the score.

Key moment:
The Braves wouldn’t have had a top of the 11th if not for a key defensive play from Troy Glaus. With the bases loaded and one out, the Giants looked ready to hit the airport with a 2-0 series lead.

Buster Posey, the Giants’ spectacular rookie catcher, only needed a long fly ball to win it. Instead, he grounded toward Glaus. Without hesitation, Glaus flipped to second base — turning away from the typical throw home to get the lead runner. The subsequent throw to first completed the double play and got the Braves out of the inning unscathed.

Game changer: Alex Gonzalez, whose key double tied the game in the eighth and sent the game into extra innings.

Play of the game: Ankiel’s long ball was just the second home run into McCovery Cove in the 11-year postseason history of AT&T Park. It also completely silenced the largest crowd in the park’s history.

Unsung hero: Right-hander Craig Kimbrel won’t make the headlines, but his two innings pitched kept the Giants down while the Braves rallied on offense. He struck out four of the six batters he faced.

Quotes of the game: “I’m in awe right now of what we just did.” – Braves' Brian McCann

“To be honest with you, I wanted to go from the batter’s box to the dugout and be with the guys and not run the bases.” – Braves' Rick Ankiel on his game-winning home run

To reach writer Daniel Watson, click here.

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