Madison Bumgarner was nearly unbeatable at home this season. The San Francisco Giants will need that trend to continue on Sunday if they want to even their best-of-five National League Division Series against the Cincinnati Reds.
Cincinnati won Game 1 at AT&T Park, but may have lost something far more in the process, as Johnny Cueto exited with back spasms after making just eight pitches. The Reds got homers from Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce, though, and held off San Francisco, 5-2.
Sam LeCure (1-0), Mat Latos, Sean Marshall and Jonathan Broxton combined to allow one run. Latos, who was expected to start Game 3, yielded four hits, including a homer to Buster Posey, over four innings.
Aroldis Chapman had trouble in the final inning and gave up a run on a wild pitch before fanning Posey to end the game.
"I feel really proud about my team," Cueto said. "I feel proud about the pitchers. They all came in and did their job, not just them, the hitters came in and they backed me up tonight."
Cueto struck out Angel Pagan to begin the bottom of the first inning, but the 19-game winner was removed from the game in favor of LeCure after delivering a pair of strikes to Marco Scutaro.
"He was in quite a bit of pain out there after he threw the pitch," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "So the fact that he said he's better, and Johnny is usually pretty honest with us, that gives us a glimmer of hope that he might be back."
Cueto is listed as day-to-day.
Phillips drove in three runs for the NL Central champions, who had lost their previous seven playoff games. They were swept in the division series two years ago by the Philadelphia Phillies and were whitewashed by the Atlanta Braves in the 1995 NLCS. This was the Reds' first postseason win in exactly 17 years.
Cincinnati completed a sweep of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS on Oct. 6, 1995.
The NL West champion Giants, who went 0-for-5 with men in scoring position and left 11 runners on base, now turn to Bumgarner in Game 2.
Bumgarner was 10-3 in 15 tries at home and ended the year 16-11 overall with a 3.37 ERA. However, he was only 2-4 over his final seven starts and allowed at least four runs in five of those outings. In fact he hasn't pitched into the seventh inning since tossing eight scoreless innings against the Los Angeles Dodgers back on Aug. 20.
"Obviously, you're going to have ups and downs throughout the year, it's just about how you can compete and minimize damage when you are going through a tough stretch," Bumgarner said.
Bumgarner won his only appearance against Cincinnati this season, but is 1-2 in four career starts.
Opposing Bumgarner will be righty Bronson Arroyo, who won 10-plus games for the seventh time in his career and finished with a 12-10 mark and a 3.74 ERA -- his best since a 3.29 ERA in his first stint with Cincinnati back in 2006.
Arroyo, though, lost his last three decisions and gave up at least three runs in three of his final four starts. That stretch came after a run that saw him win five straight and eight of nine decisions.
In three postseason starts Arroyo has yet to record a decision, but has pitched to a 6.08 ERA in those outings.
He's 3-5 in 12 games (11 starts) versus the Giants with a 3.13 ERA.
Cincinnati won four of its seven regular season matchups with the Giants this past season.
Game 3 of this series will take place on Tuesday at Great American Ball Park.