© 2010 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.

10/12/10 1:38 AM ET

Bay Area fans bullish on Giants' chances

Faithful exult after San Francisco secures date with Philly

SAN FRANCISCO -- With every ball just a bit outside and every strike right down the middle, the breaths of hundreds of fans inside sports bar Public House at AT&T Park were dictated by Giants closer Brian Wilson as he tried to secure the final three outs on Monday night in Atlanta.

When Wilson induced a series-ending grounder off the bat of Melky Cabrera, those deep breaths, sighs and moans were replaced with high fives, fist pumps and hugs, as the San Francisco faithful relished a 3-2 victory over the Braves, sending the Giants -- and their fans -- to the National League Championship Series.

"There's that saying, 'Giants baseball equals torture," Jason Dowd said as he sat at the bar after the win. "It's just good baseball. It's all about every important pitch, throw, swing. They're a strong team, and they're going to keep on fighting."

As the TBS camera crew showed the players celebrating inside Turner Field's visiting clubhouse, the celebration at Public House continued. The crowd roared as Wilson appeared on the screen and cheers of "Let's go Giants!" echoed into the street, where horns were honking and San Franciscans high-fiving.

"This city is excited," said Anthony Trevino, who watched with two friends. "Bring on Philly. They may be a better team on paper, but we're the better team on the field because we have more heart."

For Dowd, 31, this season's success has brought added comfort. A lifelong Giants fan who has 189 baseball cards of former Giant Will Clark and was part of a flag ceremony at Candlestick Park, Dowd lost his father in March. Growing up, Dowd's father took his family to one Giants game a year. This season, Dowd likes to think, is for his dad.

"It's been all about family," Dowd said. "It's been a big season. I want this for my dad. It's been a meaningful season."

While Dowd, Trevino and thousands of other fans packed into bars along King Street, others, such as Celestino Ellington, opted to sit in the grass aside McCovey Cove and peer into AT&T Park, where the game was being televised on the video board.

Ellington, an athletic director at Bayview Hunters Point YMCA, has been at AT&T Park often throughout the years. A lifelong Giants fan born and raised in San Francisco, he said nights such as Monday make the past few losing years worth it.

"It's been a long time," Ellington said. "We've worked hard getting back here and being competitive."

Although fans were jubilant after the series win, they are also mindful of what lies ahead in Philadelphia.

"They think they're going to stomp us and mow right over the Giants," said Brenda Adams, who predicted the Giants will win the NLCS in seven games and beat the Yankees in the World Series. "Our pitchers are going to shut them down and we're going to be able to scramble to get runs."

The Phillies, who convincingly swept the Reds, might be favored. But as Giants fans know, anything can happen in baseball.

"It's going to be tough, but we've got momentum and they're clicking," Ellington said. "Even the games we lost, we were right in it. We'll be better at the little things. Look at the Marlins. They've won it twice since we have."

Cash Kruth is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.