Giants-Reds Preview

AP - Sports

The Cincinnati Reds returned home with three chances to capture their first playoff series victory in 17 years.

All of a sudden, they're down to one opportunity against one of the NL's best pitchers.

The San Francisco Giants look to complete a stunning road rally and advance to the NL championship series behind Matt Cain, who gets a shot at redemption in Thursday's Game 5 after losing the series opener.

The Reds snapped the franchise's seven-game postseason losing streak by beating the Giants ace 5-2 in Game 1, and they seized control of this division series with their 9-0 victory in San Francisco the next night.

But Great American Ball Park, where Cincinnati never lost three in a row while going 50-31 in the regular season, has not provided the setting for a celebration yet. Following a 2-1, 10-inning loss in Game 3 in which a crucial error by sure-handed third baseman Scott Rolen provided the winning margin, the Reds trailed almost throughout an 8-3 loss Wednesday.

"Thanks to the win today, there will be a tomorrow," Giants outfielder Angel Pagan said. "And we are ready for that."

San Francisco took advantage of the absence of the Reds' best pitcher after Cincinnati took Johnny Cueto off the playoff roster. Replacement starter Mike Leake was hit hard, and the Reds would need to make the World Series for their 19-game winner to be eligible to return.

Cueto left Game 1 in the first inning with pulled muscles in his side, but scheduled Game 5 starter Mat Latos came out of the bullpen to help Cincinnati overcome the injury in that contest.

"You wish you had Johnny Cueto, but you don't," manager Dusty Baker said. "Right now, it's Mat's turn, and he's strong. He's on his regular turn, unlike his last time out."

Trying to send the Reds to the NLCS for the first time since 1995, Latos will be on full rest after allowing one run and four hits in four innings and throwing 57 pitches in Game 1.

"It's another game," Latos said. "It's a team that I'm comfortable with - a team that I've faced before. ... I'm just looking at it as another start. I've just got to go out there and pitch my game."

The Reds hope his past success versus San Francisco helps them avoid an unprecedented collapse. No NL team has ever lost a division series after winning the first two games, and no team in the majors has ever taken a 2-0 lead in a five-game series and lost the next three all at home.

"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."

Latos has posted a 2.19 ERA in 11 starts against the Giants. Most of those were in a San Diego uniform, but the right-hander beat San Francisco twice this year, pitching seven shutout innings April 24 in Cincinnati opposite Cain in a 9-2 Reds win.

Including Game 1, Cain is 0-3 with a 5.50 ERA against the Reds this year. He yielded three runs on homers by Bruce and Brandon Phillips while lasting just five innings Saturday, allowing his only earned runs in 26 1-3 career postseason innings.

"I made more mistakes than even showed up," Cain said. "I think I may have been overanxious, going out there, with the first game being at home.

"I will try to think back to other starts and be more calm and relaxed and worried about making good pitches instead of just going out there and maybe firing up there."

Cain may still be anxious about facing Bruce, who is 8 for 15 with four extra-base hits and four walks in their matchups. Ryan Ludwick has homered three times in 24 at-bats against Cain, and he went deep for the second time in this series Wednesday.

San Francisco's bats, though, came alive in Game 4 after totaling four runs and 12 hits in the first three contests. The Giants finished last in the majors with 103 homers in the regular season, but Pagan, Gregor Blanco and Pablo Sandoval all homered Wednesday.

Tim Lincecum turned in 4 1-3 stellar innings out of the bullpen after Barry Zito struggled. With the Giants facing elimination again, the embattled former Cy Young winner said he's ready for more Thursday, less than 24 hours after throwing 55 pitches.

"If they need me," Lincecum said, "yeah."

View Comments
  • Trip Tips: Brazil's beachless metropolis is a foodie's paradise

    By Todd Benson SAO PAULO (Reuters) - If your idea of Brazil is beaches and bikinis, São Paulo is not the place to go. But if you're a seasoned traveler who tends to shun traditional tourism hot spots for urban adventures off the beaten trail, then … More »

    Reuters - 4 minutes 19 seconds ago
  • Jeff Teague hits ridiculous (and controversial) running-out-of-bounds 3 as Hawks beat Pacers for 2-1 lead (Video)
  • Icher impresses in cold Day 1 at Swinging Skirts

    Icher impresses in cold Day 1 at Swinging Skirts

    Karine Icher of France birdied four of her first seven holes and finished with a 6-under 66 on Thursday to take the lead in the inaugural Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic. The start was delayed two hours because of fog and play was suspended because of … More »

    AP - Sports - 8 minutes ago
  • Moyes left all at sea by scale of United job, says former coach

    Moyes left all at sea by scale of United job, says former coach

    (Reuters) - David Moyes lost his job as Manchester United manager because he ignored advice and failed to appreciate the scale of the job, said Rene Meulensteen, a former coach at the Premier League club. Moyes was sacked on Tuesday after a … More »

    Reuters - 9 minutes ago
  • World sports diary April 26 - May 3

    April 25 (Reuters) - World sports diary from April 26 - May 3 - - - - SATURDAY, APRIL 26 SOCCER Premier League (1400 unless stated) Southampton v Everton (1145) Fulham v Hull City Stoke City v Tottenham Hotspur Swansea City v Aston Villa West … More »

    Reuters - 12 minutes ago
  • Hawks take 2-1 lead on top-seeded Pacers

    Hawks take 2-1 lead on top-seeded Pacers

    As the final seconds ticked off the clock, the Atlanta Hawks celebrated and their fans serenaded the Indiana Pacers with chants of ''Overrated!'' Game 3 did nothing to change that perception. The top-seeded Pacers are on the ropes again at the hands … More »

    AP - Sports - 12 minutes ago
  • Teague scores 22, Korver 20 to lead Hawks past top-seeded Pacers 98-85 for 2-1 lead in series

    Teague scores 22, Korver 20 to lead Hawks past top-seeded Pacers 98-85 for 2-1 lead in series

    ATLANTA - As the final seconds ticked off the clock, the Atlanta Hawks celebrated and their fans serenaded the Indiana Pacers with chants of "Overrated!" The top-seeded Pacers are on the ropes again at the hands of the eighth-seeded Hawks, who … More »

    The Canadian Press - 12 minutes ago
  • Postgame: Frank Vogel

    Postgame: Frank Vogel

    Frank Vogel talks to the media following the Game 3 loss to the Hawks. … More »

    NBA.com - 22 minutes ago
  • No Bills cheerleaders in 2014 after suit

    No Bills cheerleaders in 2014 after suit

    Pack up the pom-poms in Buffalo, because the Bills will be playing without the support of their official cheerleaders this year. Stephanie Mateczun, whose company manages the Buffalo Jills cheerleading squad, said Thursday she has suspended … More »

    AP - Sports - 24 minutes ago
  • Phelps loses to Lochte in comeback meet

    Phelps loses to Lochte in comeback meet

    Michael Phelps is 0 for 1 in his comeback to the pool. The 22-time Olympic medalist lost to Ryan Lochte in the 100-meter butterfly final at the Arena Grand Prix on Thursday night. Phelps was second in 52.13 in his first meet since retiring after … More »

    AP - Sports - 29 minutes ago
  • Westbrook's Amazing Three

    Westbrook's Amazing Three

    Russell Westbrook gets fouled and buries an amazing 3-pointer during the 4th quarter. … More »

    NBA.com - 29 minutes ago
  • Michael Phelps beaten in first comeback final

    Michael Phelps beaten in first comeback final

    By Julian Linden PHOENIX (Reuters) - Michael Phelps suffered a narrow loss to old rival Ryan Lochte in his comeback to competitive swimming on Thursday, but still showed enough to suggest he will be a force to be reckoned with. Racing for the … More »

    Reuters - 30 minutes ago
  • Westbrook's Big Three

    Westbrook's Big Three

    Russell Westbrook draws the foul and sinks an incredible three-pointer. … More »

    NBA.com - 31 minutes ago
  • Lolo's track transition continues at Drake Relays

    Lolo's track transition continues at Drake Relays

    Lolo Jones will continue her quick transition from bobsled to track this weekend with a hometown advantage. Jones will compete Friday at the Drake Relays in her native Des Moines, just two months removed from an 11th-place finish as a brakeman for … More »

    AP - Sports - 32 minutes ago
  • Everest climbing season in disarray as climbing teams cancel and more Sherpas leave base camp

    Everest climbing season in disarray as climbing teams cancel and more Sherpas leave base camp

    KATMANDU, Nepal - Nepal's attempts to salvage the Mount Everest climbing season took another hit Friday as more Sherpa mountain guides packed and left the base camp for their village homes a week after the deadliest disaster on the world's highest … More »

    The Canadian Press - 32 minutes ago
  • Senna had so much to offer, says sister

    Senna had so much to offer, says sister

    By Andrew Downie SAO PAULO (Reuters) - For Brazilians of a certain generation, the death of Ayrton Senna is not unlike September 11 or the assassination of John F. Kennedy. "It’s funny, it doesn’t seem like it was 20 years ago," hissister Viviane … More »

    Reuters - 35 minutes ago
  • Reds' Simon accused of sexual assault

    Reds' Simon accused of sexual assault

    A woman who said Cincinnati Reds pitcher Alfredo Simon sexually assaulted her in a Washington hotel a year ago when the team was in town to play the Nationals is suing the player for $15 million. The woman, identified as Jane Doe, filed the civil … More »

    AP - Sports - 37 minutes ago
  • Everest climbing season in disarray after deaths

    Nepal's attempts to salvage the Mount Everest climbing season took another hit Friday as more Sherpa mountain guides packed and left the base camp for their village homes a week after the deadliest disaster on the world's highest mountain. Their … More »

    AP - Sports - 39 minutes ago
  • Udrih Spins and Hits

    Udrih Spins and Hits

    Beno Udrih spins off his defender to the rack and finishes with a layup. … More »

    NBA.com - 41 minutes ago
  • Phelps loses to Lochte in 100 butterfly final at comeback meet in Arizona

    Phelps loses to Lochte in 100 butterfly final at comeback meet in Arizona

    MESA, Ariz. - Michael Phelps is 0 for 1 in his comeback to the pool. The 22-time Olympic medallist lost to Ryan Lochte in the 100-meter butterfly final at the Arena Grand Prix on Thursday night. … More »

    The Canadian Press - 46 minutes ago
  • Cruz extends RBI streak, Orioles win

    Cruz extends RBI streak, Orioles win

    TORONTO (AP) -- Chris Davis had two hits and three RBIs, Jonathan Schoop homered and the Baltimore Orioles beat the Toronto Blue Jays 11-4 on Thursday night. … More »

    AP - Sports - 53 minutes ago
  • Pacers vs. Hawks: Game 3

    Pacers vs. Hawks: Game 3

    Jeff Teague scores 22 points and dishes out 10 assists as the Hawks knock off the Pacers in Game 3. … More »

    NBA.com - 54 minutes ago
  • Phelps beaten in first comeback final

    Phelps beaten in first comeback final

    By Julian Linden PHOENIX (Reuters) - Michael Phelps suffered a narrow loss to old rival Ryan Lochte in his comeback to competitive swimming on Thursday, but still showed enough to suggest he will be a force to be reckoned with. Racing for the … More »

    Reuters - 1 hour 0 minutes ago
  • Martin shoots course record 62, leads by two in New Orleans

    (Reuters) - Ben Martin fired a course record 10-under-par 62 to take a two-stroke lead in the opening round of the $6.8 million Zurich Classic of New Orleans on Thursday. Martin made light of gusting afternoon winds to reel off 10 birdies, capped … More »

    Reuters - 1 hour 2 minutes ago
  • Toronto Blue Jays fall back to .500 mark after 11-4 loss to Baltimore Orioles

    TORONTO - The Toronto Blue Jays wasted a quality start by Drew Hutchison and fell back to the .500 mark by dropping an 11-4 decision to the Baltimore Orioles on Thursday night at Rogers Centre. Hutchison worked six solid innings and left the game … More »

    The Canadian Press - 1 hour 2 minutes ago
  • Conley's High Scoop Shot

    Conley's High Scoop Shot

    Mike Conley drives to the basket and sinks an amazing shot. … More »

    NBA.com - 1 hour 10 minutes ago
  • Prince Down the Lane

    Prince Down the Lane

    Tayshaun Prince drives the lane for the finger-roll finish. … More »

    NBA.com - 1 hour 12 minutes ago
  • Swimming-Phelps beaten in first comeback final

    * Phelps narrowly beaten by Lochte in comeback race * Still satisfied with return despite loss * Qualifies for national titles later this year (Updates after final) By Julian Linden PHOENIX, April 24 (Reuters) - Michael Phelps suffered a narrow … More »

    Reuters - 1 hour 14 minutes ago
  • Golf-Martin shoots course record 62, leads by two in New Orleans

    Ben Martin fired a course record 10-under-par 62 to take a two-stroke lead in the opening round of the $6.8 million Zurich Classic of New Orleans on Thursday. Martin made light of gusting afternoon winds to reel off 10 birdies, capped off by a … More »

    Reuters - 1 hour 19 minutes ago
  • Blatter wants to revive 6+5 proposal

    Blatter wants to revive 6+5 proposal

    FIFA president Sepp Blatter wants to revive his so-called 6+5 proposal which would force clubs to field at least six players from their own country. The idea won the backing of the FIFA Congress in 2008 but was ditched after it fell foul of … More »

    Reuters - 1 hour 23 minutes ago
  • Fresno St. finalizes DeRuyter extension

    FRESNO, Calif. (AP) -- Fresno State coach Tim DeRuyter has signed a contract extension that runs through 2018 worth at least $7.5 million. … More »

    AP - Sports - 1 hour 23 minutes ago
  • The day Senna grabbed F1's attention

    The day Senna grabbed F1's attention

    By Alan Baldwin LONDON (Reuters) - While Formula One remembers Ayrton Senna on the 20th anniversary of his death at Imola, happier memories of another race 10 years earlier highlight just why the great Brazilian is still so sorely missed. The 1984 … More »

    Reuters - 1 hour 26 minutes ago
  • Senna's simple grave a magnet for fans 20 years on

    Senna's simple grave a magnet for fans 20 years on

    By Andrew Downie SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Ayrton Senna is as discreet in death as he was lively in life. The last resting place of Brazil's most charismatic Formula One champion is marked by a brass plaque on a circular lawn, surrounded by almost … More »

    Reuters - 1 hour 29 minutes ago
  • Ayrton Senna's Formula One career

    Ayrton Senna's Formula One career

    (Reuters) - May 1 marks the 20th anniversary of the death of Brazil's triple Formula One champion Ayrton Senna in the San Marino Grand Prix at Italy's Imola circuit. The following details the main points of his career: - - - - * Born Ayrton Senna … More »

    Reuters - 1 hour 30 minutes ago
  • Ryan Nelsen sympathetic to Moyse, believes fired Man U boss will succeed elsewhere

    TORONTO - Toronto FC manager Ryan Nelsen was quick to offer sympathy — and support — to fired Manchester United boss David Moyes. "He's very good at what he does," Nelsen said Thursday after practice. "And what (Roberto) Martinez is doing at … More »

    The Canadian Press - 1 hour 37 minutes ago
  • Teague Beats the Buzzer

    Teague Beats the Buzzer

    Jeff Teague drains an amazing 3-pointer during the fourth quarter. … More »

    NBA.com - 1 hour 39 minutes ago
  • Wings' Zetterberg in lineup vs. Bruins

    Wings' Zetterberg in lineup vs. Bruins

    Henrik Zetterberg is in the lineup for the Detroit Red Wings in Game 4 against the Boston Bruins. Jonas Gustavsson is, too. Red Wings coach Mike Babcock told reporters that doctors would ultimately decide if Zetterberg could play Thursday night … More »

    AP - Sports - 1 hour 41 minutes ago
  • Westbrook for Three

    Westbrook for Three

    Russell Westbrook comes off the screen to drain his first three-pointer of the game. … More »

    NBA.com - 1 hour 48 minutes ago
  • Korver's Big Three

    Korver's Big Three

    Kyle Korver gets fouled and buries a 3-pointer from the wing. … More »

    NBA.com - 1 hour 50 minutes ago
  • Martin shoots course-record 62 at Zurich

    Martin shoots course-record 62 at Zurich

    A few weeks ago, Ben Martin had missed seven of eight cuts and figured he'd better make some changes. On Thursday, Martin treated a tiny late-afternoon gallery to a course-record round, shooting a 10-under 62 in the first round of the Zurich … More »

    AP - Sports - 1 hour 53 minutes ago