MLB Notebook: Pitching dominates in Giants, A's wins

MLB Notebook: Pitching dominates in Giants, A's wins

On Oct. 10, 1972, Tigers right-hander Joe Coleman was faced with more than simply quelling whatever nerves he might have had for his first appearance in the postseason. He was also front and center as Detroit tried to push its best-of-five American League Championship Series matchup beyond a third game.

The Oakland Athletics -- behind a pair of notable starting performances from Catfish Hunter and Blue Moon Odom -- had taken the first two games of the series, putting them one victory away from their first pennant since 1931. All Coleman did on that particular Tuesday at Tiger Stadium -- with more than 41,000 folks in the stands -- was twirl a nifty seven-hit shutout and notch 14 strikeouts, a figure still tied for the fourth highest in the history of the LCS.

Almost 40 years to the day later, another Athletics-Tigers matchup would produce a similar storyline: a starting pitcher making his postseason debut with his team facing elimination, holding the opponent scoreless during his time on the mound, and helping his club stay alive in the chase for a pennant.

AL Division Series (Tigers v. Athletics)
The A's got six innings of shutout ball from Brett Anderson and defeated the Tigers, 2-0, to hold off elimination. Detroit leads the series, two games to one.

Anderson allowed just two singles in his six shutout innings, striking out six and walking two.

Anderson is the 55th pitcher to finish his postseason debut with at least six scoreless innings. Among these 55, he is one of three to do it with his team facing elimination. The other two are Coleman (Game 3, 1972 ALCS), and the Padres' Chris Young (Game 3, 2006 NLDS).

Anderson is the fourth pitcher in Athletics history to finish with least six scoreless innings in his postseason debut, but the first to not go the distance.

A's shutouts in postseason debut
Pitcher Game Line
Chief Bender 1905 World Series, Game 2 Nine innings, four hits, nine K's, three walks
Blue Moon Odom 1972 ALCS, Game 2 Nine innings, three hits, two K's, no walks
Mike Norris 1981 ALDS, Game 1 Nine innings, four hits, two K's, three walks
Brett Anderson 2012 ALDS, Game 3 Six innings, two hits, six K's, two walks

The victory ended a six-game losing streak in the postseason for the Athletics. Their last victory had been in Game 3 of the 2006 ALDS, when they defeated the Twins, 8-3. Their six straight losses had all come against the Tigers.

The shutout win for Oakland was the team's first in the postseason since beating the Yankees, 2-0, in Game 2 of the 2001 ALDS.

Meanwhile, the shutout loss for the Tigers was the team's first in the postseason since they were blanked by the Cardinals in Game 3 of the 2006 World Series.

The A's collected five hits, while the Tigers mustered four. This game is the first in the AL in which neither team surpassed the five-hit mark since Game 4 of the 2005 ALDS between the Angels and Yankees. Both teams had four hits in that game.

Seth Smith (1-for-3, home run) became the 11th A's player to homer in a shutout win. The others are Jimmie Foxx (1930 WS, Game 5), Foxx ('31 WS, Game 4), Ray Fosse ('74 ALCS, Game 2), Sal Bando ('74 ALCS, Game 2), Bando ('74 ALCS, Game 3), Dwayne Murphy ('81 ALDS, Game 1), Wayne Gross ('81 ALDS, Game 1), Walt Weiss ('89 WS, Game 1), Dave Parker ('89 WS, Game 1) and Ron Gant (2001 ALDS, Game 2).

National League Division Series (Reds v. Giants)
Despite being held to three hits and striking out 16 times, the Giants produced a pair of runs and defeated the Reds, 2-1, in 10 innings. With the victory, the Giants trail in the best-of-five series, two games to one.

The Giants became the first NL team to strike out at least 16 times in a victory since the Braves did it in the third game of the 1999 NLDS. Atlanta defeated the Astros, 5-3, in 12 innings in that game, and struck out 18 times. The 16 strikeouts are tied for the fourth most in a postseason victory.

Most strikeouts in a postseason win
Game Team K's Score
1996 ALDS, Game 4 Orioles 23 Def. Indians, 4-3
1997 ALCS, Game 3 Indians 21 Def. Orioles, 2-1
1999 NLDS, Game 3 Braves 18 Def. Astros, 5-3
2004 ALDS, Game 4 Yankees 16 Def. Twins, 6-5
2012 NLDS, Game 3 Giants 16 Def. Reds, 2-1

The Giants became the first team since the 2004 Astros to win a postseason game while collecting no more than three hits. In Game 5 of their NLCS battle against the Cardinals, Houston amassed three hits and defeated St. Louis, 3-0. Two teams have won with one hit: the 1947 Dodgers (in Game 4 of the World Series) and the '74 Athletics (in Game 4 of the ALCS).

Homer Bailey
Bailey struck out 10 in seven innings, while allowing one run and one hit.

With the 10 strikeouts, Bailey became the first Reds pitcher to reach double-digits in a postseason game. The previous high of nine had been achieved by Hod Eller in Game 5 of the 1919 World Series and by Jose Rijo in Game 4 of the '90 Fall Classic.

Bailey is the third pitcher in this year's Division Series round to strike out at least 10, joining the Tigers' Justin Verlander and the Cardinals' Adam Wainwright. Only 2010 produced so many double-digit strikeout performances from starting pitchers in the Division Series round. Cliff Lee did it twice, and Tim Lincecum and Jonathan Sanchez each did it once.

Pitching wins out
The Giants held the Reds to only four hits. It was the 26th postseason game in which each team was held to four-or-fewer hits. The Giants were also involved the last time it happened, in Game 3 of the 2010 NLCS. That day, San Francisco blanked Philadelphia, 3-0, holding the Phillies to three hits and collecting four themselves.

All seven hits in this contest were singles. It's the second time in this year's Division Series round that a game has featured zero extra-base hits, following the Nationals' Game 1 win over the Cardinals. Before this year, no game had featured zero extra-base hits since Game 3 of the 1999 NLCS between the Braves and Mets. Entering the 2012 postseason, it had only happened 18 times, and hadn't happened twice in the same year since the 1918 World Series between the Red Sox and Cubs produced two games with no extra-base hits.

• Jay Bruce drove in the only run for the Reds on a first-inning single, giving him at least one RBI in all three games this postseason. Bruce is the first Reds player since Paul O'Neill in 1990 to open a postseason with an RBI in three straight games.

• Marco Scutaro broke up Homer Bailey's bid for a no-hitter with a two-out single in the sixth. Scutaro, who was the only starting position player on the Giants to not strike out in the game, owned the Majors' lowest strikeout percentage in the 2012 regular season at 7.2 percent.

Roger Schlueter is senior researcher for MLB Productions. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.