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Giants 8, Reds 3

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CINCINNATI (AP)

Cincinnati's ace is out of action. His replacement let the Reds down on Wednesday. Now, they are turning to Mat Latos - their biggest offseason addition - to avoid an unprecedented playoff meltdown.

The Reds saw the 2-0 lead they built in San Francisco evaporate as the Giants pounced on emergency starter Mike Leake for five runs in four-plus innings on the way to an 8-3 win that tied their best-of-five National League Division Series, 2-2.

Cincinnati now pins its hopes on Latos in Thursday's decisive Game 5. Latos, helping out after starter Johnny Cueto suffered a strained muscle in his right side one out into Game 1 of the series Saturday, pitched four effective relief innings in the Reds' 5-2 win at San Francisco.

The Reds hoped to bring Cueto - their leading winner at 19-9 in the regular season - back for Wednesday's game. Instead, they were forced to scratch him and replace him on the roster with Leake less than five hours before Wednesday's game. Angel Pagan hit Leake's second pitch for a home run and Gregor Blanco added a two-run shot in the second inning to give San Francisco the lead for good.

Latos, acquired last December from San Diego for four players, lost his first two decisions with Cincinnati before beating the Giants, 9-2, on April 24. He already had a history of acrimony with Giants fans dating back to 2010, when the Giants eliminated the Padres from contention and he responded by signing three baseballs for a off-season charity function and adding ''I hate S.F.'' to his autograph.

The Reds haven't lost three straight games all season at Great American Ball Park, but they've lost five straight post-season games in Cincinnati since beating Los Angeles, 10-1, to clinch a 1995 NLDS. Cincinnati lost the first two games of that year's NLCS to Atlanta at Riverfront Stadium and fell to Philadelphia in the third and final game of a 2010 NLDS before this year's back-to-back losses to San Francisco. The Reds also are hoping to avoid becoming the first NL team to lose a division series after winning the first two games. The previous 21 teams that took 2-0 leads won their series.

Cincinnati left a combined eight runners on base in the first four innings, opening the door for San Francisco to build a 5-2 lead.

Tagged: Reds, Giants, Mike Leake, Mat Latos

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