Latos is the man the Reds want on the mound, manager Dusty Baker said.
"You wish you had Johnny Cueto, but you don't," Baker said. "Right now, it's Mat's turn, and he's strong. He's on his regular turn, unlike his last time out."
The Reds haven't lost three straight games all season at Great American Ball Park, but they've lost five straight post-season games in Cincinnati since beating Los Angeles, 10-1, to clinch a 1995 NLDS. Cincinnati lost the first two games of that year's NLCS to Atlanta at Riverfront Stadium and fell to Philadelphia in the third and final game of a 2010 NLDS before this year's back-to-back losses to San Francisco. The Reds also are hoping to avoid becoming the first NL team to lose a division series after winning the first two games. The previous 21 teams that took 2-0 leads won their series.
The Reds pieced together a hit and three straight walks off of Giants starter Barry Zito to score a first-inning run, and Ryan Ludwick led off the third with his second home run of the series, but Cincinnati left a combined eight runners on base in the first four innings, opening the door for San Francisco to build a 5-2 lead. The Reds added a run in the sixth on Brandon Phillips' sacrifice fly, but the Giants broke the game open with a three-run seventh capped by Pablo Sandoval's two-run homer off of reliever Jose Arredondo.
Baker isn't surprised that the Giants — the team he managed for 10 years and led to a World Series appearance in 2002, his last season — have come back to tie the series.
"It's probably hard for them to believe that we were up 2-0 out there," he said. "So they reversed on us what we did to them out there, and we have a big game — the rubber match — tomorrow. It won't matter, if we win tomorrow, how many games you were up, but you know they're a quality team, and we knew it was going to be a fight when we got here."