Posey powers Giants into NLCS
CINCINNATI — Not just any comeback would get San Francisco another shot at the pennant. It would take one of Giant proportions.
Buster Posey believed it could happen. Even after the Giants left the West Coast down two games, the National League batting champion insisted his team could pull it off, despite the long odds.
With one swing, he got everyone else believing, too.
Posey hit the third grand slam in Giants postseason history Thursday as San Francisco pulled off an unprecedented revival, moving into the championship series with a 6-4 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.
“You don't want to be in a lose-and-you're-out scenario,” reliever Jeremy Affeldt said, wearing a brace on his left wrist so he didn't hurt it in the champagne-soaked clubhouse celebration. “We've been in that situation for three days. We're probably going to sleep well tonight.”
Starting Sunday, they'll play Washington or St. Louis for the pennant.
“We could go up against anybody at any time,” shortstop Brandon Crawford said. “Being down, 2-0, and coming back and winning three at their place, it's an unbelievable feeling.”
The Giants became the first NL team to overcome a 2-0 deficit in the division series, which began in 1995. Major League Baseball's new playoff format allowed them to become the first to take a best-of-five by winning the final three on the road.
Posey's second career grand slam off Mat Latos put the Giants up, 6-0, in the fifth and sparked a joyous scrum in the San Francisco dugout. The ball smacked off the front of the upper deck in left field, just above Latos' name on the video board.
For the first time in the series, the Giants could exhale.
Will Clark in the 1989 NLCS and Chuck Hiller in the 1962 World Series hit the Giants' other postseason slams.
Matt Cain and the bullpen held on with more help from Posey. The All-Star catcher threw out Jay Bruce at third base to snuff a sixth-inning rally that cut it to 6-3. The Giants added a pair of diving catches to preserve the lead in the eighth.
There was more drama in the ninth. Ryan Ludwick singled home a run off Sergio Romo. But with two runners aboard, Romo fanned Scott Rolen to end it.
The Reds haven't won a home playoff game in 17 years. After taking the first two on the West Coast, all they needed was one win at home, where they hadn't dropped three straight all season.
“You get tired of the disappointments, but then you get over it,” manager Dusty Baker said. “It hurts big time.”