In my Atlanta Braves-San Francisco Giants NLDS preview, I thought the Giants bullpen would be the difference in this series. For the Giants, their bullpen was the difference in Game 2 of this series, but not in a good way.

The Giants bullpen blew a three-run lead as the Braves came back to beat San Francisco 5-4 in 11 innings. Their best-of-five series is now tied at one game apiece.


Ankiel’s HR in the 11th tied the series at 1-all

After Braves starter Tommy Hanson was relatively ineffective for four innings (five hits and four runs), the Braves turned to their bullpen to try to keep them in the game. Not only did their bullpen keep them in the game, but they really won the game for the Braves.

Mike Dunn, Peter Moylan, Jonny Venters, Craig Kimbrel, Billy Wagner, and Kyle Farnsworth held the Giants down for seven innings. The six pitchers combined to allow just five hits, no runs, one walk, and they struck out eight in those seven innings of work.

You know things are going well when Farnsworth is shutting things down.

As the Braves  bullpen was doing their part, the Giants bullpen was doing the opposite.

Entering the eighth inning with a three-run lead, Sergio Romo and Brian Wilson couldn’t hold down the fort. Derrek Lee singled to left and Brian McCann roped a single to right off Romo. And just like that, Romo was out of the game.

Bruce Bochy then went to Wilson to try to get six outs. It was the right move to bring Wilson into the game, but I really didn’t think Wilson was warmed up.

He looked stiff and his fastball was flat coming out of the gate. That flat fastball hurt Wilson and the Giants because Alex Gonzalez ripped a double to left-center and tied the game at four.

The game stayed tied at four until the top of the 11th when Rick Ankiel absolutely destroyed a pitch from Ramon Ramirez into McCovey Cove.

Here are some other observations from last night’s game…

With Billy Wagner retiring at the end of the year, the Braves might have an internal option to replace him. I think that option should be Kimbrel. He is legit.

Speaking of Wagner, the Braves win might have come at a major cost. Wagner left the game in the 10th due to an oblique injury. It didn’t look good, and I would be surprised if Wagner pitched again in this series.

The collision between Pablo Sandoval and Buster Posey was legendary. That was the definition of the “immovable object versus the irresistible force.”

The Gonzalez play at first in the second inning was a close call, but wasn’t worth Bobby Cox getting ejected for it.

Anyone else notice Matt Cain went to the stretch in the seventh inning with nobody on base? I wonder why he did that?

Jason Heyward is really struggling right now. He is 0-for-8 in two games and is five for his last 31 at the plate.

Game 3 will be Sunday afternoon and will pit Jonathan Sanchez against Tim Hudson.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

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