Buster Posey came to Cincinnati wondering whether the San Francisco Giants were long for the postseason.
Down 2-0 in the best-of-five National League Division Series to the Cincinnati Reds, Posey, a leading candidate for the league's MVP award in his first season back from a serious ankle injury, had been scuffling at the plate with a 3-for-17 start in the first four-plus games.
Then the fifth inning of Game 5 on Thursday put Posey in an MVP moment, and he delivered MVP results. Clearly, after missing four months of the 2011 season, Posey is teaching the Giants a little something about comebacks.
With the Giants leading 2-0, Posey came to the plate with the bases loaded against Reds' right-hander Mat Latos.
"I just wanted to hit something hard, get it up in the air and get that run in from third," Posey said.
He got the ball up -- and out of the park to left field for a grand slam to become the third catcher to ever hit a grand slam in modern postseason history. The ball ricocheted off the facade of the second deck, and San Francisco plated six runs in the fifth to take control of a series the Giants thought they were out of on Monday.
"When you come on the road, it's hard to fight off those thoughts," Posey said.
The big inning washed away any lingering negative thoughts and completed a rally by the Giants to advance to the National League Championship Series with three straight wins in Cincinnati.
"I made a mistake to Posey," Latos said. "He hit a slam. The only thing I can really say is I let down everybody."
Just a few short days ago, the Giants landed in Ohio wondering how many more games were left in their season. The thought of elimination was creeping in.
"It had to - we were down 0-2 - especially coming into this place," said Matt Cain, who pitched 5 2/3 innings and gave up three runs to get the win. "But you know what, guys looked past that. We're going to let it all hang out. It ended up paying off."
Posey won the NL batting title with a .336 average and 24 home runs in the regular season. He's the biggest stick in the Giants' lineup and picked up his play when San Francisco was forced to go on without suspended All-Star centerfielder Melky Cabrera.
The All-Star backstop, who hit his second career grand slam, led the charge in the field, too. He pegged Jay Bruce trying to take third base for a double-play -- strikeout-caught stealing -- with two runners on and nobody out in the bottom of the sixth. The Cain fastball painted the outside corner and caught Reds catcher Ryan Hanigan looking.
Just when the Giants thought they'd be watching the postseason, they became the first team ever to win an MLB playoff series by rebounding from an 0-2 deficit to take all three games on the road.
"I don't think anybody gave up," Posey said.