Tim Lincecum provides steady relief as Giants win 8-3 and force NLDS to Game 5

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The Giants looked to be in big trouble when starter Barry Zito allowed three walks and a single in the first inning of Wednesday’s NLDS Game 4 vs. the Reds and a home run to Ryan Ludwick in the third.

But the fellas in the gray “San Francisco” jerseys were the ones sharing handshakes on the field in Cincinnati once the evening was through.

George Kontos and Jose Mijares kept the dangerous Reds offense from inflicting anymore damage when Zito was pulled in the bottom of the third inning, then Tim Lincecum entered in the bottom of the fourth and delivered 4 1/3 frames of one-run ball while fanning six Reds batters, walking none and surrendering just two hits.

It was Lincecum’s second relief appearance of this 2012 postseason, and he was absolutely terrific. The 28-year-old right-hander tossed 42 of his 55 pitches for strikes, looking like a reborn pitcher after registering a career-high 5.18 ERA and 1.47 WHIP over 186 dismal innings during the regular season.

This wacky NLDS was led by the Reds 2-0 just two days ago. And now it’s suddenly 2-2.

Game 5 on Thursday will feature Cincy’s Mat Latos against Giants ace Matt Cain. It should be great.

Video: Jackie Bradley Jr. climbs wall to rob Luis Urías of homer

Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images
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Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. scaled the center field fence to rob Padres shortstop Luis Urías of a solo home run in the fourth inning of Sunday afternoon’s game. Urías was trying to take advantage of a 0-1 slider from Ryan Brasier. Had Bradley not made the grab, the Padres’ lead would have been extended to 4-1.

Unfortunately for the Red Sox, they weren’t able to take advantage of Bradley’s effort, dropping Sunday’s contest 3-1. They still won the series against the Padres, however. The Sox will continue their road trip for two games against the Rockies followed by three versus the Angels.