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Giants beat Reds, 8-3; NLDS even at 2 games apiece

Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval (right) is congratulated by third base coach Tim Flannery (1) after hitting a two-run homer against the Reds in the seventh inning of Game 4 of the NL Division Series on Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012, in Cincinnati. AP Photo/Michael Keating

Pirates/MLB Videos

By The Associated Press
Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012, 8:46 p.m.

CINCINNATI — Facing elimination again, the San Francisco Giants came out swinging. Got a saving relief appearance from Tim Lincecum, too.

Angel Pagan led off the game with a home run, Gregor Blanco and Pablo Sandoval connected later and the Giants beat the Cincinnati Reds, 8-3, on Wednesday, evening their NL Division Series at 2.

Lincecum, the two-time Cy Young winner relegated to the bullpen, also delivered. He entered in the fourth with the Giants ahead, 3-2, struck out six while giving up just one run in 4 13 innings and allowed his team to pull away.

“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 Giants can complete an unprecedented comeback Thursday. 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.

“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.

The Giants' hitters emerged from a series-long slump 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.”

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 Giants broke out against Mike Leake, who replaced Cueto and had a rough time.

Pagan homered on the game's second pitch. Blanco hit a two-run shot in the second. And Sandoval's two-run shot in the seventh made it 8-3 and matched the Giants' season high for homers.

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