CINCINNATI - Buster Posey hit the third grand slam in Giants' postseason history, and San Francisco completed its startling comeback by holding off the Cincinnati Reds 6-4 Thursday in the decisive Game 5 of the NL division series.
The Giants won the final three games, all in Cincinnati, and advanced to the NL championship series. They will face either St. Louis or Washington starting Sunday.
Ahead 6-0, San Francisco saw the Reds rally throughout the late innings. Cincinnati scored once in the ninth before Sergio Romo struck out Scott Rolen with two runners on base to end it.
No team had ever lost the first two home games in a division series and won the next three on the road. The historic triumph assures the Giants of returning home once again, they just don't know when.
"We've got a bunch of fighters," Posey said. "I don't think anybody gave up."
This series victory did not come easy, all the way to the end.
Posey's slam gave the Giants a 6-0 lead in the fifth inning, yet the Reds pressured the Giants all game and got the winning run to the plate in the ninth inning.
Romo was summoned to put out a fire in the eighth inning, then battled through a harrowing ninth for the four-out save.
Most daunting: A 10-pitch battle with Jay Bruce, with two runners on. Ultimately, Bruce popped out to left field, and Romo struck out Rolen to end it, releasing a primal scream and launching an epic celebration.
In the Giants' clubhouse, Barry Zito sprayed fellow Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum with champagne, while oufielder Hunter Pence - whose pregame speech before Game 3 helped inspire the comeback - again gathered his mates in the middle of the room - this time to celebrate their historic accomplishment.
The Giants have had such a great time in Cincinnati; they may be dining on Skyline Chili the next few days, staying in town until perhaps Saturday.
The Giants never bothered checking out of their hotel Thursday simply because they don't know their future plans. They planned to hang in town Thursday night to watch the Cardinals- Nationals Game on TV. If the Cardinals win, they will head home to San Francisco where they will be scheduled Sunday to open Game 1 of the National League Championship Series at AT&T Park. If the Nationals win, and force a Game 5, they will stay in town on Friday, work out at Great American Ball Park, and again watch the late night game against the Cardinals and Nationals.
If the Nationals win the series, the Giants will head to Washington on Saturday morning. If the Cardinals win the series, they will go home late Friday night.
No matter, considering the way the Giants played during their three games at Cincinnati, they may want to request they play their home games at the Great American Ball Park.
This is a team that was hitting .126, even after their Game 3 victory, with a .215 on-base percentage and .179 slugging percentage. They had a grand total of three extra-base hits.
Well, something certainly changed the last two days, with the Giants pounding out 14 runs and 19 hits the last 24 hours.
"It was like a piñata,'' Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval said. "Boom.''
Actually, that was the sound when Posey hit the fifth-inning grand slam off Reds starter Mat Latos, giving the Giants a 6-0 lead they would never relinquish.
Associated Press and USA TODAY