CINCINNATI — Not just any comeback would get San Francisco back to playing for a pennant. It would take one of Giant proportions.
And Buster Posey believed it could happen. Even after the Giants left the West Coast down two games to none to the Reds in their best-of-five National League Division Series, the NL batting champion insisted his team could pull off a comeback. With one swing, he got everyone else believing it, too.
Posey hit the third grand slam in Giants postseason history Thursday, and San Francisco pulled off an unprecedented revival, moving into the championship series with a 6-4 victory over the Reds.
"You don't want to be in a lose-and-you're-out scenario," reliever Jeremy Affeldt said. "We've been in that situation for three days. We're probably going to sleep well tonight."
The Giants play either Washington or St. Louis for the NL pennant starting Sunday.
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 changed playoff format this season allowed them to become the first to take a best-of-five by winning the last 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 dugout. For the first time in the series, the Giants could exhale.
"I don't think anybody gave up," Posey said.
Will Clark, in the 1989 NLCS, and Chuck Hiller, in the 1962 World Series, hit the other Giants slams in the postseason.
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 out a sixth-inning rally that cut the Giants' lead to 6-3. The Giants had a pair of diving catches that preserved the lead in the eighth.
There was more drama in the ninth. Ryan Ludwick singled home a run off Sergio Romo. With two runners aboard, Romo fanned Scott Rolen to end it.
The Giants raised their arms and hugged by the mound, bouncing in unison. "It was a spectacular moment," outfielder Hunter Pence said.
In Cincinnati, the homefield meltdown had a sickeningly familiar feeling. The Reds haven't won a home playoff game in 17 years. They hadn't dropped three straight at home all season.
"You get tired of the disappointments, but then you get over it," manager Dusty Baker said. "It hurts big time."