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CINNATI -- The Reds are headed home, likely questioning every game, every play and every pitch, wondering what they could have done better to keep their season alive.
While they failed to take advantage of the opportunities in front of them in the National League Division Series, the Reds were not hard-pressed to give credit where credit was due.
"We left it all out there," said Reds right fielder Jay Bruce. "That's a good team, but we didn't play well enough. That's the bottom line. We fought all we could, but [the Giants] came in here and did something unprecedented."
The Giants made history, becoming the first NL team since the Division Series became a regular part of the playoffs in 1995 to come back from a 2-0 deficit and win the series.
They battled back to steal the series in front of three of the four largest crowds in Great American Ball Park history.
"Those guys are solid," said Giants closer Sergio Romo. "They battled. They're an amazing team, and they wanted it, too."
The Reds jumped out to the commanding series lead after the first two games in San Francisco, holding the Giants to just two runs and nine hits in those games.
The Giants followed suit, winning on the road and stealing Game 3 in a tight extra-innings matchup Tuesday to stay alive.
"Game 3 is the tough game for them," Scott Rolen said. "That's a big uphill climb for them, so you have to give them a ton of credit for Game 3, sticking in there and playing good baseball and staying on top of things. That's an easy one to let slide a little bit. They stayed on top of it, and they earned where they're headed right now."
The Reds had two more opportunities to close the series out, but they were crushed, 8-3, on Wednesday and couldn't quite claw back in Thursday's 6-4 defeat.
While the Giants will advance to the NL Championship Series to face the winner of the Cardinals and Nationals, the Reds have a few months to relax before regrouping for next season.
"It's sad to see it end, but we're all going to move on, and that team over there is going to move on, and eventually there's going to be a World Series champion, and it's not going to be us," said Ryan Ludwick. "We're just going to have to wait."