NHL podcast with Daniel Dullum: Yotes-Wild battle for Wild Card; Caps’ Ovi makes it a 50-goal season; Sharks win! Get home ice in first round; plus more

photo from arizonarepublic.com: The Arizona Coyotes Derek Stepan (21) and the Colorado Avalanche’s Alexander Kerfoot (13) anticipate the puck in last Friday night’s game. The Coyotes and Minnesota Wild are tussling for a Wild Card berth.

On the NHL podcast with Daniel Dullum

1 Coyotes, Wild battle for shot at second West Wild Card berth

2 Washington’s Alex Ovechkin posts his eighth 50-goal season

3 Sharks end losing streak, secure home ice for round one

4 Islanders clinch East playoff spot with 5-1 win over the Buffalo Sabre

5 Houston and Cincinnati in the NHL? It almost happened in the 1977 NHL-WHA merger talks

Join Daniel on the NHL podcast each Sunday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Reds Steal One From San Francisco; Giants’ Woes Continue

By: Joe Lami

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif.–The Cincinnati Reds stole a game from the San Francisco Giants on Saturday Night at AT&T, as they beat the Giants 7-2 in 11innings.  Cincinnati was trailing 1-0 going into the ninth inning, when Brandon Phillips hit a two-run homerun to put the Reds ahead.  A Giants rally capped off by a RBI double from Buster Posey in the ninth would force extra innings, but the Reds were too strong in the 11th for the Giants to come back.

The Giants continue to slump, as they are now 4-14 in the last 18 games.  The Giants have had one bright spot in that span, with Tim Lincecum’s No Hitter this past Wednesday against the Padres, but before then the Giants haven’t won a game at home since June 12, where they hammered the Nationals 7-1.

San Francisco was led by a strong pitching performance from Matt Cain, who hasn’t been himself this season going into Saturday.  Cain entered Saturday with a 1-6 record and a 4.82 ERA in 12 games.  Cain looked like the pitcher we have known though on Saturday, as he pitched seven scoreless innings, while giving up six hits, two walks and striking out four.  Saturday also marks the first time since September 26, 2012 in which Cain pitched at least seven scoreless innings.  However, the great performance goes for not, as Cain is given the no decision.

“It was a tough one, Cain pitched his heart out,” said Giants’ Skipper, Bruce Bochy after game.

Alfredo Simon was great on the other side as he surrendered one run on three hits.  Simon has been stellar for the Reds on the season boasting a 10-3 record with a 2.92 ERA, heading into Saturday night, and it continued to show, as he getsa no decision.

The Giants started the night with a bang, as Gregor Blanco led off with a base hit.  However, the Giants would have to wait until the fifth inning, until they got their next one.  The only Giant to get on base between the first and fifth inning was Pablo Sandoval in the fourth inning, when he hit a grounder and it was misplayed by Zack Cozart for an error.  Brandon Crawford recorded the second hit of the evening on his bobblehead night with a single.  Adam Duvall followed up by doubling into the left field corner sending Crawford to third.  With one out in the inning, it sent Joe Panik up to the plate.  Panik would knock in the only run for the Giants of the night, as he hammered one right up the middle but, it was knocked down by Simon and Brandon Phillips made the throw to first.  Matt Cain ended the fifth on a bunt for hit attempt to get the second run in, by he was thrown out at first.

San Francisco led the game into the top of the ninth, when Sergio Romo came into the game.  Romo started the shaky inning with a walk to Joey Votto, bringing Phillips up to the plate.  Phillips entered the at bat 0 for 3 on the evening, but made the difference in the ninth when he shot a hanging a slider deep into left field to give the Reds the 2-1 lead.  Romo was forced to finish the inning, but had trouble doing it as both Devin Mesoraco and Ryan Ludwick would hit it to the warning track before being gloved down by Juan Perez.

The Reds entered the ninth inning with the lead and one of the most dangerous closers in the game coming in, Aroldis Chapman.  Chapman entered the game 16 for 16 in saves situations, and pitching his fourth day straight.  The Giants would be the first team to break Chapman on the season as they started the ninth inning with a Hunter Pence single to right.  The turning point was an amazing ten-pitch walk forced by Sandoval putting runners on first and second.  Buster Posey was the pinch hitter and drove a 101 MPH fastball to left to bring home the tying run on the no-out double.  Runners were at second and third with no outs, and the Giants looked like they had the win in the bag, however Chapman buckled down and forced two ground outs and then struck out Duvall to end the ninth.

The Reds would strike again in the 11th inning scoring two runs off of Cozart single, that brought in Votto; who doubled to start the inning, and Phillips who was intentionally walked to set up the double play ball.  Cincinnati would put the nail in the coffin when Chris Heisey knocked two more in with a triple to right to put the Reds up 6-2.  The bleeding would continue for the Giants when Billy Hamiliton doubled to right to bring in Heisey to make it 7-2.  The Giants would get one back in the bottom half to make it 7-3.

Jonathan Broxton earns the win for Cincinnati to up his record to 3-0.  Javy Lopez gets the loss, dropping his record to 1-1. The Reds take a 3-0 series advantage this weekend, as they will go for the sweep tomorrow with a pitching matchup of Homer Bailey vs. Tim Hudson.