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Originally published Sunday, October 7, 2012 at 10:01 PM

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Giants pitching falters for second straight night

Madison Bumgarner mastered the postseason as a 21-year-old pitcher in 2010. Two years later, neither he nor the Giants are the same.

The Associated Press

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SAN FRANCISCO —

Madison Bumgarner mastered the postseason as a 21-year-old pitcher in 2010. Two years later, neither he nor the Giants are the same.

One night after ace Matt Cain was knocked around, Bumgarner gave up a solo home run to Ryan Ludwick and allowed three more runs before leaving in the fifth inning of the Giants 9-0 loss to the Cincinnati Reds in Game 2 of the NL division series Sunday night.

Just like that, San Francisco's hopes of making another push deep into the playoffs are in serious jeopardy.

At this point, manager Bruce Bochy just wants to get his team to a Game 4 in this best-of-five series.

"We know where we're at right now, we know our backs are to the wall," Bochy said. "(We've) done a great job all year bouncing back. It's been done before. We just have to keep fighting."

It's a far different position than the Giants were in the last time Bumgarner pitched in the postseason when he became the fourth-youngest starter to win a World Series game.

So much has changed since then.

Tim Lincecum, the Giants two-time NL Cy Young Award winner who won the World Series clincher against Texas in 2010, is now pitching out of the bullpen. Ryan Vogelsong earned the starting nod for Game 3 in Cincinnati.

Not that it mattered much.

Reds starter Bronson Arroyo shut down San Francisco's offense the entire night. The 35-year-old right-hander retired the first 14 batters he faced, allowed one hit over seven innings and had four strikeouts.

San Francisco's only hits came on Brandon Belt's two-out single in the fifth and Pablo Sandoval's two-out double in the ninth.

Typical of the Giants night, Hunter Pence grounded out to shortstop to end the game after San Francisco put two runners on base.

"(Arroyo) was on top of his game, hitting his spots and keeping everybody off balance," Belt said. "That's tough to do no matter what level you're at."

It's the worst shutout loss in Giants postseason history. San Francisco had been shut out only six times during the regular season, tied for second-fewest in the NL.

Bumgarner tied Cain with 16 wins during the regular season - nine coming at home - but faltered down the stretch when he lost four of his final seven starts.

It didn't get any better against Cincinnati.

"Honestly I felt pretty good out there tonight," Bumgarner said. "I made some pretty good pitches and they just hit it where we weren't. They hit a couple balls hard but it seemed like a lot of them just happened to find holes."

Bumgarner, who pitched a one-hitter against the Reds on June 28, retired the first three hitters before Ludwick's home run to center quieted the sold-out crowd at AT&T Park. It is only the second home run given up by Bumgarner in five postseason appearances.

Ludwick was also instrumental in the Reds three-run fourth.

Joey Votto and Ludwick both singled to open the inning. After Bumgarner got Jay Bruce to foul out to third baseman Sandoval, Scott Rolen singled to drive in Votto and took second when San Francisco right fielder Pence threw to the plate.

Ryan Hanigan followed with a two-run single to center to make it 4-0.

"Being able to get Cain and Bumgarner out that early and get to the bullpen was important. Everybody knows how good they are," Reds outfielder Drew Stubbs said. "We came out here with the intention of getting one of two. Getting two is a bonus. Now the ball is in our court so to speak and we have to finish it out. This is who we are and what we are capable of."

Bochy pulled Bumgarner after he allowed consecutive hits in the fifth. George Kontos replaced Bumgarner and got Ludwick to ground into a 6-4-3 double play.

Lincecum, the long-haired star of the pitching staff during the Giants improbable title run, made only the third relief appearance of his career and allowed one hit over two scoreless innings.

And the rest of the relievers who had been so reliable after losing All-Star closer and 2010 majors saves leader Brian Wilson to Tommy John surgery couldn't shut down the Reds, either.

Fans left the Giants waterfront ballpark in droves in the midst of Cincinnati's five-run eighth inning, unsure whether their team would be back for another game this season.

Homer Bailey, who pitched a no-hitter Sept. 28 at Pittsburgh, will pitch for the Reds on Tuesday.

"We're not done yet," Bumgarner said. "It's happened before to teams and they've come back and won. It just doesn't happen very often but it has been done before so we're going to keep fighting until the end."

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