Claremore Daily Progress

Sports

October 11, 2012

Giants 1 win away from swiping NLDS from Reds

CINCINNATI — 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.

"I knew he would play a huge role in this,'' manager Bruce Bochy said. "And I know of other situations where starters have been in the `pen and really done a great job to help their team win. We knew Timmy would play a critical role in the series like he did tonight.''

The Reds were hoping to start ace Johnny Cueto, but had to drop him off the roster a few hours before Wednesday's first pitch because he was still bothered by a strained muscle in his right side. He won't be available if Cincinnati wins Game 5 and reaches the NL championship series.

The way the Giants have started hitting, that's now in doubt.

They broke out against Mike Leake, who replaced Cueto and had a rough time. Leake threw his first career complete game in San Francisco on June 29 and was 3-0 career against the Giants.

Pagan homered to start it off for the Giants. Blanco hit a two-run shot in the second. The Giants had another breakthrough in the fifth, when back-to-back doubles by Joaquin Arias and Pagan ended an 0-for-14 slump with runners in scoring position during the series.

Sandoval's two-run shot in the seventh made it 8-3, matched the Giants' season high for homers and drew loud boos from the crowd of 44,375 - the third-largest at Great American Ball Park. Fans quietly settled into their seats and used their white rally towels as lap warmers against the evening chill.

The Giants normally don't hit many homers - only 103 during the season, fewest in the majors. They're only the seventh team since 1900 to reach the playoffs after finishing last in the majors in homers.

While the offense went to work, Lincecum bailed out the bullpen.

Bochy didn't hesitate to put the guys he wanted on the mound, using four pitchers in the first four innings. Lincecum settled things down, giving up only two hits in his second relief appearance of the series.

He threw 42 strikes out of 55 pitches and even batted twice - just like a starter.

"The last two games, it's been about scratching and leaving it on the field,'' Lincecum said.



 

1
Text Only
Sports
  • DSC_0111web.jpg ‘Team behind the Team’

    For the second-straight year, the Claremore Zebra student training staff will be represented in the Oklahoma Coaches All-State games held in Tulsa.
    Meranda Golbek and Sarah Szcinski, a pair of 2014 Claremore High School graduates, earned All-State honors for their athletic training careers and will join two other student trainers from Jenks and Stillwater High School on the East squad.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • FISHFRYweb.jpg Claremore QB Club holds Fish Fry Aug. 2

    The Claremore Zebra Quarterback Club will hold its annual Fish Fry fundraiser on Aug. 2 at the Claremore High School cafeteria.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 2 Texas football players charged with sexual assault

    Two University of Texas football players were arrested and charged Thursday with felony sexual assault after a female student said she was raped in a campus dorm room last month.

    July 24, 2014

  • Mack Brown to serve as ABC College Football analyst

    Former Texas coach Mack Brown will serve as a studio analyst for college football games on ABC.

    Brown stepped down in December after 16 years with the Longhorns, winning the national title after the 2005 season.

    July 24, 2014

  • Auburn QB Marshall pays fine for marijuana

    Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall has paid the fines for possession of a small amount of marijuana and a window tint violation.

    July 24, 2014

  • NBA: Mavericks cut Rashard Lewis, add Aminu

    The Dallas Mavericks have reached a deal with free-agent forward Al-Farouq Aminu after scrapping a contract with Rashard Lewis because of a knee problem.

    July 24, 2014

  • NBA: T-Wolves weighing options with Kevin Love

    The summer of LeBron has quickly turned into the summer of Love. When it ends is anybody's guess.

    The Minnesota Timberwolves are weighing their options when it comes to trading All-Star Kevin Love, with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Chicago Bulls both trying to land the versatile forward. But any talks are complicated by an NBA rule that requires a 30-day waiting period to trade any rookie that signs his contract.

    July 24, 2014

  • NFL: RB Charles reaches deal with Chiefs

    Pro Bowl running back Jamaal Charles has agreed to a contract extension with the Kansas City Chiefs.

    The Chiefs announced the deal Wednesday night.

    July 24, 2014

  • Ex-OSU WR Blackmon arrested in Edmond

    Suspended Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Justin Blackmon has been arrested in Oklahoma on a complaint of marijuana possession.

    July 24, 2014

  • NFL: Gronkowski cleared to practice with Patriots

    Rob Gronkowski was a training camp spectator last summer while recovering from surgery.

    This summer, after another operation, the New England Patriots star tight end is expected to be on the field for the first practice Thursday.

    July 24, 2014