Giants' bats come alive, beat up Reds 8-3 to even NLDS series at 2-2

CINCINNATI - The San Francisco Giants' bats finally showed up in the postseason, and the Reds couldn't keep up, falling 8-3 in Wednesday's Game 4 to even the National League Division Series at 2-2, and force a decisive Game 5.

Angel Pagan set the tone early when the Giants' leadoff center fielder hit a solo home run on the second pitch he saw, and the Giants didn't let up.

Mike Leake (0-1), who was called in as the Game 4 starter to sub for injured Reds ace Johnny Cueto, never really had command of his fastball and left too many pitches over the plate early on.

The Reds were gifted a run in the bottom of the 1st inning after a 2-out Joey Votto single was followed by three straight walks courtesy of Giants starter Barry Zito (1-0) to even the game at 1-1, but the Reds didn't capitalize further, as catcher Dioner Navarro, starting in place of Ryan Hanigan, struck out to end the threat.

Giants left fielder Gregor Blanco followed in the top of the 2nd inning, pelting the second home run off a Leake fastball to the seats in right.

The Giants never looked back, and even though San Francisco skipper Bruce Bochy pulled Zito early in the 3rd after a Ryan Ludwick home run made it a 1-run game, Bochy made all the right bullpen choices to shut down the Reds offense for most of the rest of the game.

The Giants got Leake for two more in the 5th on back-to-back doubles by Joaquin Arias and Angel Pagan, followed a sac bunt by Marco Scutaro and a sac fly by Pablo Sandoval.

Leake left the game and the usual shut-down Reds bullpen couldn't stop the bleeding.

Sam LeCure came in for Leake and shut out the Giants through the 6th, but the Giants battered Reds reliever Jose Arredondo for 3 more runs in the 7th on a double by Joaquin Arias, a sac fly by Pagan that got Arias to third, a double by Marco Scutaro and a 2-run home run by Pablo Sandoval.

Giants relievers shut down the Reds' offense, starting when George Kontos came in for Zito to finish the 3rd. Kontos was pulled in the 4th after getting only 1 out and giving up two hits, but Bochy called in lefty Jose Mijares, who struck out Votto with two men on base to get the second out. He then called on Lincecum to finish up the inning and he carried the load from there, going 4.1 innings, giving up just 1 earned run on 2 hits with six strikeouts, fooling hitter after hitter with a hard breaking ball low and out of the zone. Santiago Casilla pitched the 9th, allowing just 1 hit to Votto.

The Reds left 10 men on base and struck out a combined 13 times in a second-straight rough showing offensively. The Reds got their third and final run in the 6th off Lincecum, after a Drew Stubbs leadoff double, a Miguel Cairo pinch hit check-swing dribbler to the pitcher, on which Stubbs advanced to third, and a Phillips sac fly to get Stubbs home.

The Reds haven't won a postseason game at home in 17 years, and the away team has won each game of this series.

A decisive Game 5 will be played at 1:07 p.m. Thursday at Great American Ball Park. Matt Cain takes the mound against Mat Latos, with both pitchers on four-days rest. Cain lost the series opener and has yet to beat the Reds in three tries this season.

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.

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