Less than two weeks ago, in a scene that became an instant classic, Giants outfielder Hunter Pence gathered his teammates and emotionally told them that he didn't want the game that was about to be played to be his last with them this season. San Francisco, one game from elimination, responded by taking three straight games from the Reds in their Division Series to advance.
Here they go again. After losing to the Cardinals, 8-3, Thursday night in Game 4 of the National League Championship Series, the Giants again need to win three in a row to avoid having their offseason begin. It's not where they wanted to be, but at least they're familiar with the scenario.
"This is just where we are. This is what we have to deal with. Yeah, the last series we were down in a similar situation. But this is a new series. They beat us and now we've got to go out and get after them," Pence said in a quiet postgame visitor's clubhouse. "This series is different from the last one. You know, the thing is, you've just got to simplify it. Go out and enjoy the moment. We worked really hard to get here. We played really well to get here. And that's how I'm going to look at it.
"Our backs are against the wall. It definitely has a different feel whenever you have your back against the wall, so try to let it bring out the best. We have all the confidence. We know what this team is capable of. We've just got to continue to battle."
One big difference is that, to stay alive in the last round, the Giants had to sweep Cincinnati at Great American Ball Park. This time, if they can manage to win Friday night, the final two games would be scheduled for AT&T Park.
"We've been in this situation before and it seems we play tougher. If we can win the next game, we're going home. And anything can happen there. If we can play on our own field with our crowd and everything, it's going to be exciting. We'll see what happens," said left fielder Gregor Blanco.
Agreed Pence: "The motto is, 'Find a way to win and take it back to San Francisco.' We've just got to continue to give it everything we've got. And, if we go down, we'll go down going at them."
The Giants aren't happy to be at the disadvantage in which they find themselves, of course, but they're certainly not giving up on themselves.
"No doubt we're coming back hard. Our only option is to give it everything we've got," said center fielder Angel Pagan.
Added shortstop Brandon Crawford: "We've been here before and we can do it again. That's kind of our attitude."
Blanco said he already had discussed the situation with Pence and Pagan.
"And we were being very positive all the way. And we're still positive right now. We know what we have to do. And we can do it. We're capable of doing good things," Blanco said. "We just have to go game by game. We haven't lost our faith. We're not down at all. This is baseball. Anything can happen, so we'll see what happens."
Manager Bruce Bochy understands that all his club can do is focus on Game 5 and that there are no guarantees in baseball, even for a team in as commanding a position as the Cardinals are right now.
"It's not over," Bochy said. "We know it's an uphill battle, but we've been there before.
"You've got to keep believing and hope. Without that, you don't have anything. These guys, they'll be out there fighting. It's not going to change. We've been through a lot this year. We've just got to come out, try to win the game [Friday] and see if we can get this thing back home."
Paul Hagen is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less