Giants rally to force Game 5 vs. Reds


Giants rally to force Game 5 vs. Reds

From Comcast SportsNetCINCINNATI (AP) -- Angel Pagan connects on the second pitch of the game. A Giants team that finished last in homers goes on to hit three. Tim Lincecum pitches like a two-time Cy Young winner -- this time, out of the bullpen.So many unusual things moved San Francisco to the verge of an unprecedented comeback.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 Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday that evened their NL division series at 2-all.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.Facing elimination, the Giants' slumping hitters came out swinging and extended Cincinnati's playoff misery. The Reds haven't won a postseason game at home in 17 years.One thing in the Reds' 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 down after losing the first two games at home while getting outscored 14-2. They were barely able to get a hit, let alone a win.The pressure pulled them closer. Hunter Pence gathered them for inspirational speeches before the two games in Cincinnati, challenging them to play like champions."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.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.San Francisco managed only four runs in the first three games of the series. The Giants avoided the sweep by pulling out a 2-1 win in 10 innings on Tuesday night with the help of a passed ball and an error by third baseman Scott Rolen.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.Bochy decided to go with left-hander Barry Zito over Lincecum for Game 4 because he was better down the stretch. Zito was left off the postseason roster when San Francisco won the World Series in 2010, but finished the regular season with seven straight wins.The left-hander lasted only 2 2-3 innings, his shortest career outing in the postseason. On came Lincecum to save the day.The Reds finished with the second-best record in the majors at 97-65, one game behind Washington. The rotation was the foundation of their championship season, with all five starters making it through healthy -- a franchise first.Things changed dramatically when Cueto had to leave the first inning of the playoff series opener on Saturday with the injury. The Reds made it through that game with Latos filling in for a 5-2 victory, but couldn't win without him on Wednesday.NOTES:The Reds honored RHP Homer Bailey on the field before the game for his no-hitter in Pittsburgh on Sept. 28, presenting him and C Ryan Hanigan with framed photo montages. ... It was Zito's shortest outing since he lasted 2 1-3 innings on Aug. 29 at Houston. The Giants won it 6-4. ... San Francisco has won each of Zito's last 12 starts. ... Leake lasted 4 1-3 innings, giving up six hits and five runs. ... The Giants hit three homers in a game eight times during the regular season.

Livingston: After final year of contract, 'we all want to get paid'

Livingston: After final year of contract, 'we all want to get paid'

OAKLAND – Stephen Curry, back-to-back MVP and reigning NBA scoring champ, will be a free agent in July and so will Andre Iguodala, the 2015 NBA Finals MVP.

Another charter member of the Warriors’ championship core, Shaun Livingston, also will be on the market.

“There’s always going to be speculation and it’s easy to start looking ahead,” Livingston told on Tuesday. “But that never does the player any good.”

Iguodala and Livingston love being Warriors, but it’s likely at least one of them may be sacrificed next summer for Patrick McCaw, who cracked the rotation as a rookie and in many ways is a composite of the two veterans.

Iguodala doesn’t hide from the fact that thoughts of the future will creep into his mind, and neither does Livingston, who is in the final year of a three-year deal worth $16.6 million.

“It’s human nature; we all want to get paid,” Livingston said. “We all want to perform well, to get numbers.

"But basketball sometimes in this league can get tricky,” he added. “You start worrying about that stuff, and you end up hurting yourself in the long run. But if you stay with it, stay on course, you may not have the same numbers but the team wins and you get paid more.”

LeBron's triple-double leads Cavs to win over Knicks


LeBron's triple-double leads Cavs to win over Knicks

CLEVELAND — LeBron James took time to reflect as the Cleveland Cavaliers raised their championship banner.

Then it was business as usual.

James had his 43rd career triple-double, Kyrie Irving scored 29 points and the Cavaliers beat the New York Knicks 117-88 on Tuesday night in the NBA season opener.

James scored 19 points and added 11 rebounds and 14 assists in front of a raucous home crowd that was on its feet from the pregame ceremony until late in the game, celebrating the city's first championship in 52 years.

"It was great to have a moment like that," he said. "It was difficult to focus on the game but we did a great job, especially in the second half."

James, who got choked up while speaking to the crowd before the game, continued his perfect record on ring nights. He was 2-0 when the Miami Heat players were presented with their championship rings.

"There were so many emotions," he said. "To see us win the finals and tonight being that last exclamation point to receive your ring in front of your fans was a great moment."

Irving scored 19 points in the third quarter, when Cleveland used a 20-4 run to take a 74-53 lead. Kevin Love scored 23 for the Cavaliers.

Carmelo Anthony led New York with 19 points and Derrick Rose had 17.

Cavaliers guard Iman Shumpert was taken to the locker room late in the third quarter with concussion-like symptoms after colliding with Kristaps Porzingis. Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue said Shumpert was undergoing tests to determine the extent of the injury.

Cleveland's players, coaching staff and front office personnel also received their championship rings in the pregame ceremony, and the sellout crowd chanted Lue's last name.

"That was a really good feeling," he said. "It was great to be a part of it."

The basketball game was only part of a big night in town. The Cleveland Indians played Game 1 of the World Series against the Chicago Cubs across the street at Progressive Field.

The Knicks, who missed the playoffs the last three seasons, are expecting major improvement after acquiring Rose from Chicago to run the offense and signing center Joakim Noah, who was scoreless in 21 minutes.

"We will improve, I guarantee it," Anthony said. "There are just so many moving parts right now. We need to get better, but we're not running from that fact."

New York, playing its first game under new coach Jeff Hornacek, trailed by 13 in the second quarter but rallied to cut the lead to 45-43 at halftime. A pair of dunks by James and 3-pointers from Irving and Love pushed the lead to 61-49.

Cleveland's spurt continued as Irving hit three 3-pointers for a 74-53 lead.

Porzingis scored 16 points for New York.


Knicks: Anthony scored 11 of New York's 18 first-quarter points. .... PG Brandon Jennings, signed in the offseason, scored seven points in 22 minutes.

Cavaliers: F Tristan Thompson was scoreless and had six rebounds in 21 minutes. ... Rookie G Kay Felder is going through concussion protocol after being injured in practice last week.


James and Dwyane Wade, a Chicago native, finalized their bet on the World Series between the Indians and Cubs.

"If the Indians win the World Series, he has to wear an Indians uniform when he comes here and if the Cubs win it, I have wear a Cubs uniform when we play in the United Center," James said.


The Knicks spoiled James' return to Cleveland on opening night two years ago with a 95-90 win. Anthony was the game's high scorer with 25 points. Irving led Cleveland with 22 while James scored 17.


Noah, who has never been a favorite of Quicken Loans Arena fans, had a few kind words for the city Tuesday.

"Congratulations to Cleveland," he said. "Even though it's not a vacation spot you guys got a championship. It's well-deserved."


Knicks: They host Memphis on Saturday in their home opener in what will mark Rose's first game in a New York uniform at Madison Square Garden.

Cavaliers: They travel to Toronto on Friday in a rematch of last season's Eastern Conference finals, which Cleveland won in six games.