Giants’ bats explode to force Game 5

The Giants table-setters had forgotten how to arrange the silverware during the first three games of the NLDS against Cincinnati.

But something clicked on Wednesday.

Angel Pagan and Marco Scutaro decided they finally wanted to contribute to the Giants’ cause, leading the way as the Giants defeated the Reds 8-3 to even the series at two games apiece and force a decisive, winner-takes-all Game 5 on Thursday.

After going a combined 2-for-24 with zero runs scored in the first three games, the Giants first two hitters went 3-for-7 with three runs scored, three RBI and a leadoff home run by Pagan to get the day off to a good start.

But Pagan and Scutaro weren’t the only Giants hitters to wake up from a deep slumber.

Pablo Sandoval doubled in the first and hit a moonshot home run in the seventh to give the Giants a commanding 8-3 lead. He added a single in the top of the ninth inning.

After the Reds tied the game 1-1, offensively-challenged Gregor Blanco shocked everyone by hitting a two-run home run. Maybe he borrowed Xavier Nady’s bat.

And, after entering on a double-switch, Tuesday’s hero Joaquin Arias tallied two doubles and scored two runs.

The big storyline heading into Game 4 was Bruce Bochy’s decision to let Barry Zito start the game instead of going with Tim Lincecum.

While Zito wasn’t terrible, he didn’t pitch very well. The bright side is that he didn’t implode, leaving the Giants with no chance of winning. Zito went only 2-2/3 innings, but when he was removed from the game, the Giants had the lead.

The ironic part is that Lincecum entered the game out of the bullpen and pitched longer than Zito. Lincecum was vintage Freak during his 4-1/3 innings, striking out six and giving up just two hits.

The Giants may have the momentum heading into Game 5 on Thursday, but they face their kryptonite Mat Latos. If they Giants have an arch nemesis, it is Latos. In 11 career starts against the Giants, Latos has a 2.19 ERA.

To counter, the Giants will send their Horse to the mound. Matt Cain has a chance to redeem his lackluster Game 1 performance and get the Giants into the National League Championship Series.