CINCINNATI -- Tim Lincecum, Joaquin Arias and all the Giants' premium puzzle pieces suddenly are two-thirds of the way to pulling off the impossible.
They were pushed to the edge after losing the first two games of this series but pushed back. They could have split apart but bonded together instead.
And now this series is tied at two games apiece, after an 8-3 victory, with the deciding Game 5 on Thursday.
All that is left for the Giants is to make baseball, franchise and heart-pounding history -- and advance to the National League Championship Series.
Or not. But just getting to this point told us almost everything we needed to know about this team and this journey.
"We get to play another ballgame," said outfielder Hunter Pence, who has led a stirring series of unifying dugout pep talks. "Get to see these guys and get take the field with them another day. That was it, got another ballgame."
And, rather perfectly, the Giants have ace Matt Cain set to try to finish it off against Reds starter Mat Latos, a Giants nemesis.
Of course, the Cincinnati Reds, who were good enough to win the first two games of this series, including a 9-0 drubbing of the Giants in Game 2, are still standing in the way.
So is this fact: In 21 previous tries, no National League team has come back from an 0-2 deficit to win a division series.
But after two grueling days and battling Giants' victories here, the Reds almost seem like an afterthought.
Either the Giants will have enough energy to complete this titanic upset, or they will get just close enough to taste it and then run out of steam.
"I guess you see what you're made of when you're down 0-2," said Buster Posey, the team's de facto captain. "But our work's not done. We've got to come out (Thursday) and keep pushing."
On Wednesday, the Giants had thermonuclear power -- thanks to Lincecum's epic relief stint, Arias' fill-in value, key home runs from Angel Pagan and Pablo Sandoval, amid many other vital contributions.
That all made up for starter Barry Zito's short, ineffective outing and was more than enough to counter the Reds' offensive efforts.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy yanked Zito in the third inning when it was clear he had nothing, set up Lincecum to jump in a few outs later and watched the former super-starter hold down the Reds through the eighth inning.
"I knew he'd play a huge role for us," Bochy said of Lincecum, the two-time Cy Young award winner who has been relegated to the bullpen, for this series at least.
Dusty Baker, the former Giants manager who now manages the Reds, let his starting pitcher, Mike Leake, get crushed for too long, forcing the Reds to play catch-up from the second inning on.
And that gave the Giants all the momentum in this game and this series.
That comes after almost everybody (including me) all but killed off the Giants after they lost the first two games of this series at AT&T Park.
Two games later, the Giants are still here.
"This is today, and thanks to the win today, there will be a tomorrow," said Pagan, who opened the game with a home run on the second pitch. "We are ready for that."
To be clear, after Game 2, the Giants had a steep mountain to climb. They needed three consecutive victories in the Reds' home park, a place where the Reds haven't lost three straight all season.
That seemed almost impossible at the time. But now the Giants are right on the threshold. With Cain, Bochy and all the puzzle pieces -- who will be the next unforseen hero? -- it's all right there for them.
It was impossible a few days ago, and now the Giants are right there.
"You know what? We feel good," Posey said.
So what will happen Thursday in Game 5?
"Keep fighting," said Sandoval, whose monstrous home run in the seventh inning accounted for the final margin of victory. "Keep fighting."
No question, this series is capable of shifting back against the Giants as it did in the early going and as it shifted toward them once the series got to Ohio.
Much of this will be up to Cain and to Latos and to finding out which group of hitters will come alive in Game 5.
"It's a team that I'm comfortable with," Latos said of the Giants, whom he beat in an emergency Game 1 outing, "a team that I've faced before."
But the Giants are the team that seems to be playing at a higher speed and thinking at a higher level.
They have the momentum, the puzzle pieces, the urgency and the cohesion.
"It's not about going out there as individuals," Lincecum said. "It's just going out and doing what we've got to do to win. And the last two games, it's been about scratching and leaving it on the field."
Usually the tougher, more unified team is the one that wins the biggest game. That's Game 5, and it sure feels like that's the Giants.
A few days ago, it was impossible to see how they could do this. Now it seems almost impossible to stop them.