Trailing 4-1 in the ninth inning on Wednesday, the Phillies finally got to Giants ace Tim Lincecum after the two-time Cy Young Award winner had given up 1 run, 1st baseman Ryan Howard’s fifth inning solo homer, and 3 hits while striking out 11 through eight innings. But the Phils jumped on reliever Brian Wilson for the 3 tying runs, 1 of the runs charged to Lincecum. Lefthander Cole Hamels went six innings giving up 4 runs on 8 hits while walking 4 and striking out 10. With the score 4-4 after nine, the Phils grabbed a 1 run tenth inning lead only to see the Giants tie in their half of the inning. The Phils plated 2 runs in the eleventh, but the Giants nearly tied or won against Nelson Figueroa in their half as rightfielder Nate Schierholtz, who went 5 for with 3 runs scored, drove in the Giants’ sixth run with a 1 out double putting runners at 2nd and 3rd base. But a fielder’s choice grounder and a ground out to 2nd ended it as the Phillies came from behind to beat the Giants by 7-6 in 11 innings to avoid a sweep of the 3 game series.
With the win, the Phils remained 1/2 game behind the Mets in the NL East race with the 2 teams colliding for a 3 game series in Philadelphia starting on Friday.
AP sports writer Janie McCauley recaps the game for Yahoo sports:
Wilson Valdez doubled home the go-ahead run in the 11th inning, Jayson Werth’s three-run double with two outs in the ninth rallied Philadelphia after Tim Lincecum left the game, and the Phillies beat the San Francisco Giants 7-6 on Wednesday to avoid their first sweep of 2010.
[Chase] Utley singled off Wilson [during the 3 run ninth] for hit No. 1,000 of his career.
The Phillies added an insurance run in the 11th on Velez’s fielding error in left when he dropped a routine fly by Shane Victorino.
Howard snapped a career-high 65 at-bat homerless streak in the fifth when he sent the first pitch from Lincecum into the left-field seats. It was Howard’s first homer since agreeing Monday to a $125 million, five-year contract extension.
Lincecum, the two-time reigning NL Cy Young Award winner, struck out 11 in outdueling Cole Hamels and was poised to win his fifth straight start to begin the year until closer Brian Wilson blew it.
Schierholtz had an RBI double in the bottom of the 11th for his career-high fifth hit but it wasn’t enough on a day the Giants stranded 16 baserunners.
Ryan Madson (1-0) pitched one inning for the win despite allowing an RBI single to Andres Torres in the bottom of the 10th, Torres’ third RBI of the game. Nelson Figueroa finished for his first career save.
Schierholtz’s 11th-inning double moved Juan Uribe —aboard on a pinch-hit single—to third and brought up Eugenio Velez. He grounded into a fielder’s choice to first and Howard threw home to save the tying run on a close call at the plate.
The homer by Howard was just the second of the year allowed by Lincecum, and Howard’s three career clouts against the Giants’ ace are the most by anyone.
Lincecum had thrown 98 pitches when he went out to start the ninth but was done after a one-out walk to Victorino. Fans booed when manager Bruce Bochy removed the right-hander. Wilson then blew his first save in five chances.
Lincecum and Hamels combined for 21 strikeouts. Torres drew a go-ahead, bases-loaded walk from Hamels in the sixth and also hit a tying RBI double in the fifth, but the bullpen couldn’t keep a 4-1 lead.
SS Jimmy Rollins has begun jogging again, but wasn’t sure when he would start true running as part of his recovery from a strained right calf that landed him on the disabled list April 14. “I’m not going to rush it this time. I rushed it last time,” he said in reference to an ankle injury in 2008. “But we won a World Series.”
Hamels threw 113 pitches in six innings while giving up 4 runs on the way to a no-decision, but he kept the ball in the park. The first 6 Phils in the lineup collected 7 of the Phils’ 8 hits, with Howard collecting 2 of them. Valdez, who replaced Juan Castro at shortstop in the eleventh inning, drove in the tie-breaking run. Relievers Danys Baez, Jose Contreras and David Herndon each tossed one scoreless inning apiece, each giving up a hit.
To view the scores of all of Wednesday’s MLB games, click here.
The Phils have Thursday off before returning home to end April and open May with a 9 game homestand beginning with entertaining the Mets for a 3 game weekend series.