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 homered leading off the second inning for his first career playoff clout, 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.
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.
Nationals 3, Cardinals 2
ST. LOUIS — Rookies in the postseason, the Washington Nationals played like poised veterans.
The Nationals escaped a bases-loaded jam in the seventh inning, Tyler Moore blooped a two-out, two-run single in the eighth, and Washington beat the defending World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals 3-2 Sunday in an NL playoff opener.
They have just four players with postseason experience on the roster. But they have the lead.
The Nationals, who had never come close to making the playoffs since moving from Montreal for the 2005 season, overcame a wild start by 21-game winner Gio Gonzalez. They limited the Cardinals to just three hits.
Rookie reliever Ryan Mattheus needed just two pitches to bail out the Nationals in the seventh with St. Louis ahead 2-1. Moore, another rookie, put them ahead soon after that, Tyler Clippard worked around an error in the eighth and Drew Storen saved it with a 1-2-3 ninth.
Yankees 7, Orioles 2
BALTIMORE — CC Sabathia, Russell Martin and the New York Yankees crashed a party that was 15 years in the making.
Martin led off the ninth inning with a tiebreaking home run off Jim Johnson, Sabathia turned in a sparkling pitching performance, and the Yankees beat the Baltimore Orioles 7-2 Sunday night in the opener of their AL divisional series.
Sabathia allowed two runs and eight hits in 8 2/3 innings to help the Yankees take the edge off the Orioles’ first home playoff game since 1997. The husky left-hander went 0-2 in three starts against Baltimore during the regular season, but in this one he returned to form and improved his lifetime record against the Orioles to 17-4.
“Fastball command was good, worked off that,” Sabathia said. “Throwing the ball pretty good getting the corners. Tried to stay out there and make some pitches.”
Sabathia is 6-1 with the Yankees in the postseason, 4-0 in the division series.
With the score 2-all, Martin drove a 2-0 pitch from Johnson into the left-field seats. It was the first of four straight hits off Johnson, who led the majors with 51 saves. Raul Ibanez and Derek Jeter followed with singles, Ichiro Suzuki drove in a run with a swinging bunt and one out later, Robinson Cano hit a two-run double.
In his seven prior appearances against New York, Johnson allowed one run in seven innings and had three saves. Nick Swisher capped the five-run ninth with a sacrifice fly off Tommy Hunter.
“It’s tough. It’s just tough going, period,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “Jimmy has been great for us all year and will be again. Tonight just wasn’t his night.”
Tigers 5, Athletics 4
DETROIT — Al Alburquerque reached out and snagged a sharp grounder to the mound — then planted a little kiss on the ball before tossing it to first.
The relieved reliever gave his Detroit teammates a reason to laugh in ninth inning of a tight game. Moments later, the Tigers were celebrating.
Don Kelly scored the tying run on a wild pitch in the eighth, then hit a bases-loaded sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth that lifted the Tigers over the Oakland Athletics 5-4 Sunday for a 2-0 lead in their AL playoff series.
Detroit overcame three A’s leads and seesawed to victory. It was 1-all before a wild final three innings that included a key error by Oakland center fielder Coco Crisp, two game-tying wild pitches and several momentum changes.
Alburquerque kept it tied in the ninth when he got Yoenis Cespedes to hit a comebacker with men on first and third and two outs. He gave the ball a quick smooch before throwing underhand to first.
Detroit will go for a sweep of the division series matchup in Game 3 on Tuesday at Oakland.
Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera doubled twice for the Tigers, hit a fly ball that Crisp dropped for two runs and later singled in the ninth.