Zito has chance to pull Giants even with Reds

Associated Press Published: October 10, 2012
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CINCINNATI (AP) — Joaquin Arias hit the ball, put his head down and ran. All he knew was that the Giants' season depended upon how fast he made it to first.

"That's the fastest I've ever run to first," the infielder said.

He won the playoff dash, taking advantage of third baseman Scott Rolen's momentary bobble to beat the throw. Arias' foot hit the bag, and the Giants suddenly had a little hope.

After managing only one hit through the first nine innings, the Giants took advantage of a passed ball and Rolen's error in the 10th inning for a 2-1 victory that cut the Cincinnati Reds' lead in the division series to 2-1.

A team that's struggled just to get hits is suddenly feeling like it has a chance against long odds. The Giants are trying to become the first team to overcome a 2-0 deficit in a best-of-five series by winning three straight on the road.

"I think we have to be really happy that we came away with a win tonight because we didn't swing the bats very well at all," said Buster Posey, who singled as part of the winning rally.

The Giants have struggled the last two games against Bronson Arroyo and Homer Bailey, managing a total of three hits in the starters' 14 innings combined. They're not sure who's up next for the Reds, who haven't won a home playoff game in 17 years and now have a tough decision.

Left-hander Barry Zito will pitch Game 4 on Wednesday for San Francisco, which has won the last 11 times he started. The Reds had to decide whether to try ace Johnny Cueto, forced out of the opener in San Francisco on Saturday with spasms in his back and side.

Manager Dusty Baker said after the game that they hadn't decided whether to go with Cueto, bring back Mat Latos on short rest again, or replace Cueto with Mike Leake, who wasn't on the division series roster.

Switching out Cueto would leave the Reds ace ineligible to pitch in the championship series should the Reds get that far.

"It's very difficult, but it all depends on if your ace can't go or whatever it is," Baker said. "That's part of the conversation — us going without him. We realize what's at stake."

They were hoping to avoid having to make that choice. One grounder forced the issue.

The Giants managed only three hits against Bailey and the bullpen, but got two of them in the 10th — along with a passed ball by Ryan Hanigan — to pull it out. San Francisco won despite striking out 16 times.

Rolen, an eight-time Gold Glove winner, couldn't cleanly field Arias' grounder, which put him in a tough position.

"I've gone through the play many times in my mind between then and now, and I think I would play it the same way," Rolen said. "It hit my glove. I just couldn't get it to stick."

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