CINCINNATI This wasnt Kirby Puckett or Jim Leyritz. Thiswasnt Jack Buck and his lawnmower voice, kicking up gravel with "And wellsee ya tomorrow night!"
The Giants didnt survive with a swift stroke to thebleachers or a bold scamper from second base or even an emphatic strikeout thatwill be replayed for generations.
They survived while going 3-for-36 and striking out 16 times Tuesday night.They survived despite needing to squeeze five innings from their bullpen. Theysurvived with two runs that arrived by aid of a sacrifice bunt, a sacrificefly, a passed ball and a short-hop error off the chest of an eight-time GoldGlove Award winner.
When you escape a burning house, you dont care if yourewearing one shoe.
The Giants will live to see tomorrow after a 2-1, 10-inningvictory over the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park.
This is a group of guys that love each other and loveplaying together, said right fielder Hunter Pence, who delivered a screaming,passionate speech in the clubhouse a few minutes before the first pitch.
We want to play more baseball together. Thats what itsall about.
This was not a courtesy win. The Giants are down 2-1, theyare on the road, they are hitting .121 over three games, and sure, no team hasever come back to win an NL division series after dropping the first two.
But they are very much alive in this series, and the Redsshould be very nervous.
Reds manager Dusty Baker was not ready to announce a Game 4starter to oppose Barry Zito on Wednesday, mostly because he has no earthlyidea whom theyll choose. It could be Mat Latos on short rest after he threw 59pitches Saturday. Or they could add Mike Leake to the roster, but that wouldmean sacrificing Johnny Cuetos eligibility for the NLCS should the Redsadvance. (Cueto, who threw just eight pitches in Game 1, has a strainedoblique.)
Well try to come up with a solution tonight, said Baker,who finds himself once again facing a postseason pitching dilemma. I mean, Iwish I had an answer. But I dont.
There is this, too: Latos reportedly is battling flusymptoms, although he called it mere congestion.
I dont know what theyre going to do on the other side, Giantsmanager Bruce Bochy said. But this was a game we had to throw everything atthem. You never know what can happen, but I do know we had to win today. We hadno choice.
This game, it was do or die for us.
The Giants lineup didnt do much of anything. But RyanVogelsong and four relievers would not let them die.
Both teams combined for seven hits. Reds right-hander HomerBailey allowed just one while striking out 10 in seven overwhelming innings(and on just 88 pitches).
Even Vogelsong had to marvel at the way Bailey tore throughone batter after another while taking a no-hitter to the fifth inning whilestriking out six consecutive at one point. Then Vogelsong came back to theclubhouse after his five innings, watched Bailey on television and came awayeven more stunned at how well he was locating his fastballs.
Vogelsong, after a 30-pitch first inning, found a way tomatch a guy throwing a no-hitter. That is seldom easy to do. The bullpen tookit from there. And after 28 innings in this series, the Giants scratched outtheir first lead on two singles, a passed ball and Joaquin Arias grounder thatbounced away from Scott Rolen.
Theres no time for panic, center fielder Angel Pagansaid. If you panic, I dont think you win a game like this. You have to go outthere and believe youre going to get it done.
Even a team hitting .121 can register a pulse.
That fight we had out there? That is the fight we have tobring tomorrow, Pagan said. Whoever it is, weve got to be ready for him.
We came here to win three games in a row. We didnt come towin one game."