SAN FRANCISCO — Bronson Arroyo pitched the Reds back to Ohio on quite a playoff roll.
Arroyo retired his first 14 batters and delivered a gem a day after 19-game winner Johnny Cueto went down with a back injury, and Cincinnati beat the San Francisco Giants 9-0 on Sunday night to head home with a 2-0 NL division series lead.
A pair of Ryans provided the big hits. Ryan Ludwick connected leading off the second inning for his first career playoff homer and Ryan 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 come here and get two is very important."
Former San Francisco skipper Dusty Baker came into his old stomping grounds by the bay and left with two commanding victories 10 years after managing the Giants within six outs of a World Series title before falling short.
The Giants were handed their handed their worst playoff shutout in franchise history.
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 won their first playoff game 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.
"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."
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 before Saturday's win.
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."
The 35-year-old Arroyo worked ahead and had four straight strikeouts during one stretch to baffle the Giants.
Arroyo's seven innings marked his longest postseason outing in five starts and 13 appearances — and he couldn't have picked a better moment to do it.