SAN FRANCISCO — The Reds know all about the Giants’ never-say-die ways, but even by the standards set in the 2012 NLDS, this was one hell of a comeback.
The Giants, clinging to the edges of life in the playoff race, scored a run off Aroldis Chapman in the eighth and two more in the ninth to send the game to extra innings. Then they finally ran out of gas. Todd Frazier homered off Sergio Romo in the top of the 10th inning and the Reds held on in the bottom of the inning, getting a wild 9-8 win in a game that lasted four hours and two minutes.
The Giants trailed by three when Chapman entered with one out in the eighth, but they got a run back — with Madison Bumgarner’s walk keeping the rally going — and forced the game’s hardest thrower to use up 23 pitches. Chapman fell apart in the ninth.
Angel Pagan hit a leadoff single and the Giants got within a run and put the tying run on second on a single and throwing error. Buster Posey’s single to left brought Matt Duffy screaming home as the tying run and Posey took second, but the Giants couldn’t bring him home.
The Giants looked dead in the water on two different occasions earlier in the marathon game.
Chris Heston got off to a brutal start and nearly was pulled in the first. He gave up three runs, but he did enough to get out of the inning and then retired 13 of the final 16 Reds he faced. The stuff was good, as Heston struck out eight, including six in the first two innings.
Posey missed an early chance to turn the game around, hitting into a double play with two on in the first. The same situation presented itself in the fourth and this time Posey blasted a three-run homer off lefty John Lamb.
Jarrett Parker pinch-hit in the bottom of the fifth and hit his first career homer on the first pitch he saw, giving the Giants the lead. Brandon Belt’s RBI double added an insurance run, but the lead wouldn’t last long.
With a runner on first and one out in the seventh, Josh Osich fielded a soft grounder and sailed a throw into the corner near the visiting bullpen. At first it appeared that Skip Schumaker scored just ahead of Marlon Byrd’s strong throw, but a long, long replay review confirmed that the runner was out. The Reds then unsuccessfully challenged to see if a fan had touched the ball before Byrd. When that process was done, they took the lead, anyway.
Jay Bruce’s single scored one run and a fielding error by Belt kept the inning alive long enough for Brandon Phillips to line the tying single into right. Hunter Strickland hit Frazier to load the bases and walked Ivan De Jesus to bring the go-ahead run home. George Kontos entered as the fourth Giants relief pitcher of the inning and gave up a two-run single to pinch-hitter Ramon Cabrera. The 38-minute frame finally ended when Posey grabbed a wild pitch and made a quick throw to the plate, where Kontos put a tag down for the third out.
The game got drunker in the eighth. When two Giants walked with one out, the Reds called on Chapman, perhaps the game’s best closer. After a strikeout of Belt, Bochy turned to Bumgarner with two on and two outs and the Giants trailing by three. He was hoping for a miracle homer and Bumgarner took his hacks as he fell behind 0-2. After two balls, he fouled off a 100 mph fastball and then took two more balls. Bumgarner became the first pitcher to ever reach base against Chapman, and the first player to draw a walk off him this season after falling behind 0-2.
Chapman topped 102 during the epic battle, and when Bumgarner reached first and gave way to a pinch-runner, the lefty hit Ehire Adrianza on the foot to bring a run home.