Giants 1 win away from swiping series from Reds

Associated Press Published: October 11, 2012

CINCINNATI (AP) — With an out-of-character win, the San Francisco Giants are on the verge of an unprecedented comeback.

And everybody in Cincinnati is saying: Uh-oh.

Angel Pagan hit the first leadoff homer in Giants postseason history, and Gregor Blanco and Pablo Sandoval connected later for an 8-3 victory over the Reds on Wednesday that evened their NL division series at 2-all.

After dropping their first two at home, the resourceful Giants have moved one victory away from the NL championship series — unthinkable when they landed in town on Monday. No team has recovered from a 2-0 deficit in a best-of-five series by winning three on the road, according to STATS LLC.

This one can do it with a victory on Thursday at Great American Ball Park.

"Thanks to the win today, there will be a tomorrow," Pagan said. "And we are ready for that."

Matt Cain, who lost the series opener and has yet to beat the Reds in three tries this season, will start Game 5 against Mat Latos, who has a little personal history against the Giants. He was with San Diego in 2010 when the Giants eliminated San Diego on their way to a World Series title.

That offseason, Latos signed three baseballs with "I Hate SF!" as part of a fundraiser for the major league players' alumni association. After Wednesday's game, his wife, Dallas, tweeted: "2010 Padres are not the 2010 Reds."

There's plenty of angst to go around town. The Reds haven't won a postseason game at home in 17 years, going 0-3. They also dropped a one-game playoff for the NL wild card to the Mets in 1999.

One thing in their favor — they haven't dropped three straight at home all season.

"I'd like to think that we still have the advantage," Reds outfielder Jay Bruce said. "We're at home. I expect Mat to come up with a big game. I'm looking forward to it."

So are the Giants, who were barely able to get a hit, let alone a win, while dropping the first two games. The pressure pulled them closer. Hunter Pence gathered them for inspirational speeches before the two games in Cincinnati.

"We feel good," NL batting champion Buster Posey said. "When you're down 0-2 you see what you're made of. We're not done."

It wasn't all about the offense. San Francisco's overlooked Cy Young winner played a starring role, too.

Tim Lincecum was relegated to the bullpen for the playoff series because of his dreary season — 15 losses, 17 wild pitches. He entered in the fourth inning, pitched out of a threat that kept the Giants up 3-2, and kept going. The right-hander struck out six while allowing just one run in 4 1-3 innings.