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Manager Bruce Bochy didn’t hesitate to put the guys he wanted on the mound, using four pitchers in the first four innings. Lincecum got the final out in the fourth and kept going, allowing only two hits in his second relief appearance of the series.

Lincecum threw 42 strikes out of 55 pitches and even batted twice _ just like a starter.

Bochy decided to go with left-hander Barry Zito over Lincecum for Game 4, choosing the better pitcher down the stretch. Zito was left off the postseason roster when San Francisco won the World Series in 2010, but finished the regular season with seven straight wins.

The left-hander lasted only 2 2-3 innings, his shortest career outing in the postseason. On came Lincecum to save the day.

The Reds finished with the second-best record in the majors at 97-65, one game behind Washington. The rotation was the foundation of their championship season, with all five starters making it through unscathed _ a franchise first.

Things changed dramatically when Cueto had to leave the first inning of the playoff series opener on Saturday with the injury. The Reds made it through that game with Latos filling in for a 5-2 victory, but couldn’t win without him on Wednesday.

NOTES: The Reds honored RHP Homer Bailey on the field before the game for his no-hitter in Pittsburgh on Sept. 28, presenting him and C Ryan Hanigan with framed photo montages. … It was Zito’s shortest outing since he lasted 2 1-3 innings on Aug. 29 at Houston. The Giants won it 6-4. … San Francisco has won each of Zito’s last 12 starts. … Leake lasted 4 1-3 innings, giving up six hits and five runs. … The Giants hit three homers in a game eight times during the regular season.

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