SAN FRANCISCO -- Before Mat Latos came up big in emergency relief for the Reds in their 5-2 Game 1 win in the National League Division Series on Saturday night, reliever Sam LeCure also delivered in a time of crisis.
It was LeCure who replaced Johnny Cueto when the Reds' ace had back spasms eight pitches into his start. LeCure took over to finish the at-bat against Marco Scutaro in the first inning and completed 1 2/3 scoreless innings with one hit, two walks and one strikeout.
"This guy has done everything for us," Reds manager Dusty Baker said on Sunday. "He's gone long. He's gone middle. He's gone short. He wants the ball. He'll very rarely tell you no. You have to monitor him. He's gotten some very big outs for us. You feel as comfortable bringing him in with the bases loaded as you do with anybody on the team."
LeCure, who came up as a starter before switching to the bullpen in 2010, was 3-3 with a 3.14 ERA in a career-high 48 games this season while totaling 57 1/3 innings. Twenty times he threw more than one inning, and he worked at least two innings 12 times.
Down the stretch, LeCure allowed only two hits over his final 10 appearances.
"He's going to throw strikes," Baker said. "He'll get righties out as well as lefties. He gets lefties out actually better than righties. His ball has a lot of movement. He's been great."