Cincinnati, OH, United States (4E Sports) – Catcher Buster Posey smacked a grand slam as the San Francisco Giants completed a comeback from a 0-2 series deficit with a 6-4 win over the Cincinnati Reds to advance to the National League Championship Series Thursday at Great American Ballpark.
With three straight road victories, the Giants became the first NL team to erase a 2-0 deficit and win a best-of-five postseason series. They will face the winner of the St. Louis-Washington matchup starting Sunday.
Four teams have achieved the feat in the AL — the 1995 Mariners over the Yankees, 1999 Red Sox over the Indians, 2001 Yankees over the A’s and 2003 Red Sox over the A’s.
“These guys — two games there could have gone either way,” said Giants manager Bruce Bochy. “We got that last out and obviously euphoria hits, but I complement the Reds on how hard they fought back in that game and we barely hung on. The torture is back here, I guess, but what happened here, I couldn’t be prouder of a bunch of guys.”
“We’ve got a bunch of fighters, and I don’t think anybody gave up,” said Posey, who bounced back strongly this year after sustaining multiple left leg injuries that sidelined him for much of last season.
“We were getting worked over offensively pretty well and came out swinging the bats better yesterday and were able to get just enough across today to get it done,” added Posey, a heavy favorite to win the NL Most Valuable Player plum.
Reds starter Mat Latos (0-1) allowed just three hit in the first four innings before Brandon Crawford hit an RBI triple that started the Giants’ breakaway. Two batters later, Crawford scored from a single by Angel Pagan.
Latos loaded the bases by walking Marco Scutaro and giving up a single to Pablo Sandoval, paving the way for Posey’s big homer. Posey also homered off Latos in Game 1 of the series.
The Reds slowly worked their way back with Brandon Phillips hitting a two-run double against starter Matt Cain (1-1) in the fifth while Ryan Ludwick hit a solo shot in the ensuing inning.
Cincinnati had one last stand in the ninth, scoring a run from a single by Ludwick before closer Sergio Romo struck out Scott Rolen for his first playoff save.
Cain pitched 5 2/3 innings, surrendering three earned runs on six hits with two walks and five strikeouts. Latos, for his part, accumulated six runs – five earned – on seven hits with four strikeouts.
Since the 2-3 playoff format was adopted, Cincinnati became the first team to win the first two and drop last three games at home. In 10 postseason games with a chance to win a series, manager Dusty Baker has a 1-9 record.