San Francisco Giants Advance to NLCS with 6-4 Win over Cincinnati Reds

Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistOctober 11, 2012

The San Francisco Giants capped off one of the best comebacks in postseason history by defeating the Cincinnati Reds 6-4 in the decisive Game 5 of the NLDS.

They withstood a furious late rally, but closer Sergio Romo closed the door by getting Scott Rolen to strike out swinging. 

Major League Baseball's new 2-3 series format made it more difficult for the Giants to come back after losing the first two games at home. However, the team was able to win three straight road games in Cincinnati to keep its playoff hopes alive.

This was the first time in National League history that a team was able to win a division series after being down 2-0, according to MLB Public Relations.


The @sfgiants are 1st NL team to come back from down 0-2 in LDS and 1st ever in 2-3 format to lose 1st two at home & win last 3 on road.

— MLB Public Relations (@MLB_PR) October 11, 2012


Brandon Crawford got the Giants on the board first with an RBI triple in the fifth inning to score Gregor Blanco. It was the shortstop's first hit of the series, and he later scored on an error by Zack Cozart. 

The game was then broken open with a grand slam by Buster Posey later in the inning to make it 6-0 in favor of San Francisco.

Whoever runs the MLB official Twitter account could barely contain his or her excitement:


BUSTING LOOSE! Buster Posey's grand slam in the 5th makes it @sfgiants 6-0 in Game 5. #FlyWitness

— MLB (@MLB) October 11, 2012


Of course, not everyone had this much joy. Catcher Ryan Hanigan was immediately disappointed when Posey made contact.

Cincinnati kept the game close after a Brandon Phillips two-run double in the bottom of the fifth and a Ryan Ludwick home run in the sixth, but the team was unable to sustain a rally to tie up the game.

Although the Reds should be proud of a great effort, they must be disappointed that they could not get it done after having the tying run at the plate in each of the last four innings and the winning run in the ninth.

Bleacher Report MLB Lead Writer Zach Rymer accurately described the mood shift that took place in Cincinnati during the three-game collapse:


Have we ever seen a team go from being dominant to "pluh" as quickly as the Reds? Goodness gracious.

— Zachary D. Rymer (@zachrymer) October 11, 2012


Matt Cain, who allowed three runs in a Game 1 loss, did not fare too much better in Game 5. He allowed three runs in 5.2 innings and needed a big strikeout-him-out, throw-him-out double play to get out of a jam in the sixth inning.

Still, the bullpen and defense ensured that it was enough to leave with a victory.

Reds starter Mat Latos started fast with four shutout innings in his first career postseason start. However, he unraveled in the fifth inning, giving up six runs.

The pitching struggles highlighted how much the team missed Johnny Cueto, the team's ace who was only able to throw eight pitches in Game 1 before leaving with a strained oblique. 

The Giants now look forward to the NLCS against either the Washington Nationals or St. Louis Cardinals as they attempt to win the World Series for the second time in three years.