Giants vow to keep fighting despite long odds

Giants vow to keep fighting despite long odds

Giants vow to keep fighting despite long odds
SAN FRANCISCO -- Two overstuffed duffel bags sat at the foot of Hunter Pence's locker Sunday night, as the Giants outfielder packed for the possibility of three games as the National League Division Series shifts to Cincinnati after San Francisco missed two opportunities at home.

"The bottom line is we need to win three games," Pence said.

Really, they have no other choice.

Reds vs. Giants

Maybe the change of scenery will do the Giants some good, because home cooking certainly isn't cutting it, not after the Reds took a commanding lead in the best-of-five series with a 9-0 blanking of the Giants in Game 2 that was played in front of a sold-out crowd at AT&T Park.

As expected, a hush washed over the home clubhouse for the second time in as many nights, the result of another disappointing loss, one that has left the Giants one game from elimination. The postseason mojo that sustained them in 2010 has yet to materialize.

"It hasn't been pretty," Pence said.

But that doesn't mean the Giants are finished, even though the odds are heavily stacked against them at this point. The Reds have defeated Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner and are now heading home as they look to clinch a series that has been dominated by their robust offense and Sunday, the right arm of pitcher Bronson Arroyo.

"This is not exactly where we want to be," Bumgarner said. "But we've still got a lot of fight left in us."

To state the obvious, the Giants realize they missed a big opportunity by not winning either of these first two games at home.

"You'd always like to get one at home, but they're a very good team," said Giants first baseman Brandon Belt. "We knew this scenario could happen. Now it's up to us to go out and win Tuesday."

On Sunday, Arroyo retired the first 14 hitters he faced before Belt lined a ball into center field with two outs in the fifth inning. By then, the Reds had a 4-0 lead that would later grow into a 9-0 bulge, as they have now scored 14 runs in this pitcher-friendly ballpark.

"We know where we're at right now and our backs are to the wall," said Giants manager Bruce Bochy. "I know they know what's at stake and they've done a great job all year at bouncing back. It's been done before and we have to keep fighting. There is no choice in this."

In order to get back into this series, the Giants will need to find some semblance of an offense. In these first two games, their offense has amounted to one swing and a wild pitch. That's it. Two runs, one on a home run in Game 1 by Buster Posey, followed by a run that scored when Reds closer Aroldis Chapman uncorked a wild pitch in the ninth inning Saturday.

The sample sizes are always small in these short series, but the Giants are hitting .143 with nine hits to show for two games. The pitching (6.50 ERA) hasn't been much better.

Things were so bad for the Giants that when Brandon Crawford advanced to second base in the eighth inning on defensive indifference, what was left of the crowd stood and sarcastically cheered the first Giants baserunner to find his way into scoring position.

The Giants aren't used to being manhandled like this in the postseason, at least not during the glorious romp of 2010 when they were 11-4, including a 5-2 mark at home.

And if things weren't grim enough, history isn't on their side.

Since the Division Series was implemented for good in 1995, four teams have rallied from 0-2 deficits to win a series -- the last being the Red Sox in 2003 against the A's.

To date, National League teams that have won the first two games of a Division Series are 21-0. That's a pretty steep order for the Giants.

But Pence insisted the Giants aren't finished yet. This is, after all, a team that survived the loss of closer Brian Wilson to an injury, two disabled-list stints by third baseman Pablo Sandoval and, of course, the suspension of outfielder Melky Cabrera.

"At this point, we're faced with adversity," Pence said. "This is where you find out what you're made of."

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.