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October 10, 2012

Giants force Game 4

CINCINNATI (AP) — Reds catcher Ryan Hanigan gave the Giants a golden chance to keep their season alive last night.

The Andover High grad’s passed ball during a 1-1 game with two outs in the 10th inning allowed Buster Posey to move to third base and Hunter Pence to move to second base.

Then, Joaquin Arias busted his tail down the first base line after hitting a soft ground ball to third base.

And when eight-time Gold Glove winner Scott Rolen bobbled the ball momentarily, it allowed Arias and the Giants to keep on running — all the way to a Game 4.

“You have to give the base runner credit for hustling down the line,” Cincinnati Reds manager Dusty Baker said after the game. “Most guys, they’re out on that ball.”

Not Arias, who has an improbable number of big moments in 2012 for a guy who was a non-roster invitee to spring training.

This time, he keyed the Giants’ 2-1 victory in Game 3 with his legs.

For the duration of Arias’ at-bat, the giant scoreboard in center field showed his career average with two out and runners in scoring position: .219.

But Arias had no use for that statistic. Instead, he did a number on the Reds.

He tapped a two-hopper toward the sure-handed Rolen at third base. Rolen said he was aggressive in fielding the ball — and would do so again. But when he muffed the ball, he wound up making an off-balance throw.

It was ruled an error for the seven-time All-Star.

Arias saw none of that. He said he just put his head down.

“I didn’t see Rolen bobble it,” he said. “That’s the fastest I’ve ever run to first.”

His Usain Bolt act put a charge into a Giants bench that knew it caught a break.

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