Plenty of blame to go around for Giants’ collapse in Game 2 of NLDS

San Francisco Giants relief pitcher Brian Wilson (38) reacts to making an out in the 9th inning against the Atlanta Braves during Game 2 of their MLB National League Division Series baseball playoff game in San Francisco, California October 8, 2010. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith  (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)

There’s no shortage of blame for the Giants’ collapse Friday night in Game 2 of the NLDS.

Had Pat Burrell not turned Derrek Lee’s sixth inning single into a double by kicking the ball in left field, maybe the Braves don’t score on the next play to cut the Giants’ 4-0 lead to 4-1.

Had Sergio Romo not allowed the only two batters he faced in the eighth to reach base, maybe Brian Wilson allow three runs to tie the game at 4-4.

Had Pablo Sandoval honed his craft at third base during the regular season, he wouldn’t have helped Wilson give up those three runs by making a throwing error in that fatal eighth inning.

Had Andres Torres played fundamental baseball and lifted a sac fly into the outfield instead of striking out with runners at first and third with one out in the seventh, the Giants would have finished with five runs instead of four.

And had sensational rookie Buster Posey not grounded into a double play in the bottom of the 10th with bases loaded and only one out, the Giants would be up two-games-to-none in their best of seven series with the Braves.

But alas, things didn’t go the Giants’ way last night and they only have themselves to blame for their 5-4 collapse. Like so many times throughout his career, they wasted another fine performance by Matt Cain and once again like so many times throughout the past couple of years, their offense couldn’t step up when the club needed it to.

Give credit to the Braves, who never gave up despite trailing 4-0 after only two innings. Starter Tommy Hanson settled in after giving up a 3-run dinger to Burrell in the first and the bullpen was absolutely outstanding the entire night. Kyle Farnsworth stepped up enormously in extra innings when Billy Wagner went down, and got the double play in the bottom of the 10th that allowed Rick Ankiel to hit the game-winning homer in the 11th (which was an absolute moon shot into McCovey Cove).

Now the series shifts to Atlanta for two games, where the Braves finished with a NL-best 56-25 home record. They’ve also seized all the momentum and can close out the series at home on Monday if they can scoop up two more wins.

We’ll see what the Giants are made of over these next three days, because they’ve definitely put their backs against it.

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MLB Roundup: Red-hot Renteria, Lee’s bad news & the BoSox’s early woes

Giants 5, Braves 4
Quick, name the team with the best record in baseball. The Yankees? Sorry – they’re currently only .500. The answer would be the Giants, who have begun the year 4-0 after coming from behind to the beat the Braves 5-4 in 13 innings on Friday. Quick, name the hottest hitter in the league right now. If you said Albert Pujols, then punch yourself in the ear because you’re wrong. If you said Edgar Renteria, you’re right, but you probably only said that to be a wiseass – so the jokes on you. Renteria is batting an astonishing .688 to start the year after going 3-for-5 with a game-tying two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth, which helped San Fran erase a 4-2 deficit. I don’t know how Pablo Sandoval slimmed down and stole Renteria’s jersey without anyone seeing, but there’s no way that’s the real Edgar Renteria.

Rangers 6, Mariners 2
Nelson Cruz abused the Mariners on Friday, going 3-for-4 with a solo homer, two RBI and two runs scored in the Rangers’ 6-2 victory. Seattle is hitting .199 as a team and was 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position. It was the club’s fourth straight loss and making matters worse, it was revealed that Cliff Lee might not come off the disabled list until May now.

Royals 4, Red Sox 3
It’s early, but you know things are bad in Boston when they’re losing to Kansas City. Rick Ankiel (yes, that Rick Ankiel) hit a go-ahead two-run single off Daniel Bard in the eighth inning of the Royals’ 4-3 win over the BoSox on Friday night. It was the fourth hit of the night for Ankiel, who also hit a solo home run and drove in three runs. Not a bad night for the newcomer, who helped sent Boston spiraling to a 1-3 start.

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2009 MLB Preview: #13 St. Louis Cardinals

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Offseason Movement: The biggest move the Cardinals made this offseason was acquiring former Padres’ shortstop Khalil Greene, who the club hopes will bring a little pop to the lineup. St. Louis also added pitchers Trever Miller and Dennys Reyes, the latter of which posted a 2.23 ERA in 46 1/3 innings last season in Minnesota.

Top Prospect: Colby Rasmus, OF
Rasmus isn’t just the Cardinals’ top prospect – he’s one of the top prospects in all of baseball. Although St. Louis is expected to go with Chris Duncan as their starting left fielder, Rasmus’ potential is going to force him onto the field in 2009. The 22-year old isn’t expected to produce a high average right away, but he flashes good power and speed, while his defense is above average as well. Rasmus is a stud prospect and could become a household name in the next couple years.

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