Teams that lead 6-0 in the fifth inning wind up winning 96.3 percent of the time.
Teams that lead 6-0 in the fifth inning, and have their best pitcher on the mound, win 98.7 percent of the time.
That's just science.
Or would be, if those numbers weren't made up. If you find the real numbers, though, that won't be terribly different. Good teams with good pitchers don't blow six-run leads. Not often enough that you would notice, anyway.
So when the Giants took a 6-0 lead in the fifth inning, with Matt Cain on their side, you had to guess the Reds were probably toast in this winner-take-all Game 5. Suddenly, though, the Reds are looking like a slice of bread's that been put in the toaster, but with the toaster on bagel setting; one side's brown and crusty, but the other still freshly white
Or to put this in words that actually make sense, the Reds have
In the bottom of the fifth, Brandon Phillips made it 6-2 with a two-run double. And in the sixth, Cain got into more trouble. Heaping trouble.
Ryan Ludwick led off and hit a ball very hard:
One swing, and it was 6-3.
After falling behind in the count 1-and-2, Jay Bruce drew a walk.
After falling behind in the count 0-and-2, Scott Rolen eventually singled.
Ryan Hanigan got ahead in the count, 2-and-0, and Cain started throwing him strikes and Hanigan kept fouling them off. With the count full, Cain threw his most important pitch in 2012, a fastball that just clipped the edge of the strike zone, down and away. Hanigan let it go, and it could have been called a ball but wasn't. Even worse for the Reds, Dusty Baker had both runners moving with the pitch, and Buster Posey didn't have any trouble throwing out Bruce at third base for the inning's second out.
That last pitch to Hanigan was Cain's 96th, and he'd thrown plenty in the inning already, so Bruce Bochy came out and got him. George Kontos came in, and retired Zack Cozart on a grounder to end the threat.
It could have been a HUGE inning for the Reds. Instead they scored just once. In the top of the seventh, Sean Marshall needed only five pitches to dispose of the Giants. After the stretch, the Reds get another shot to make it close.