Phillies ace Roy Halladay fell a bit from the lofty heights of his post-season no-hitter in his duel with Giants’ ace Tim Lincecum. Halladay gave up 4 runs on Saturday, 2 of them on solo homers while Lincecum, who also was masterful in his first post-season start, didn’t fare much better giving up 3 Phillies runs on a solo shot and a 2 run homer. The Giants bullpen held off the Phils in the final two innings striking out 5 as the Giants nipped the Phillies by a 4-3 score in game 1 of the NLCS.
Pesky San Francisco outfielder Cody Ross, who burned the Phils in the past while with the Florida Marlins, solved Halladay with a 1 out solo shot in the third inning after “Doc” had retired the 1st seven Giants he faced in order. After catcher Carlos Ruiz returned favor leading off the Phils third inning with a solo shot, Ross returned with a 1 out fifth inning encore solo shot off of Halladay to put the Giants up by 2-1.
With 2 outs and a runner on 1st base in the sixth inning, Halladay thought that he was out of the inning having struck out former Phil leftfielder Pat Burrell. But the home-plate umpire called the pitch a ball. Burrell nailed Halladay’s next offering to leftfield for an RBI double. Burrell left for a pinch-runner and shortstop Juan Uribe followed with an RBI single and the Giants were up by 4-1.
But in the bottom of the sixth, the Phils drew close as 2nd baseman Chase Utley singled and rightfielder Jayson Werth went park on Lincecum with a 2 run shot.
The Phils flubbed additional scoring chances against Lincecum in the second and third innings. 1st baseman Ryan HowardShane VictorinoPlacido Polanco led off the second inning with a leftfield double. But Lincecum recorded a strikeout, pop-out and a fly out to end the inning. After Ruiz homered to tie the score at 1-1 leading off the third, Halladay followed with a single to leftfield before being wiped out as Lincecum coaxed centerfielder into a doubleplay grounder. 3rd baseman followed with a double to leftfield and Utley was walked. Both Polanco and Utley moved up a base on a passed ball but Lincecum struck out Howard to end the threat.
Both Halladay and Lincecum went seven full innings with Lincecum getting slightly the better of things in earning his 2nd post-season win. Halladay threw 105 pitches giving up 8 hits, including the 2 homers, walking none and striking out 7 while taking the loss. Lincecum threw 114 pitches giving up 6 hits, including the 2 homers, while walking 3 and striking out 8.
Giant relievers retired 6 of the final 7 Phillies hitters, 5 by way of strikeouts to end the game. Meanwhile, reliever Ryan Madson went clean on Frisco tossing a 9 pitch eighth inning before closer Brad Lidge did his best Mitch Williams impression loading the bases on a single, a walk and a hit batsman before recording a strikeout and a fly out to end a dicey ninth inning.
In Sunday’s NLCS game 2, San Francisco lefthander Jonathan Sanchez beat himself early issuing 3 first inning walks and falling victim to a fielding error which loaded the bases. The last of the walks, to shortstop Jimmy Rollins, forced in the first Phils run.
Meanwhile, Roy Oswalt retired 13 of the first 14 Giants hitters he faced, only issuing a walk, until outfielder Cody Ross slammed his 3rd solo homer in 2 games, with 1 out in the fifth inning, to tie the score at 1-1.
Shane Victorino doubled in the 2nd run in the Phils’ fifth and Oswalt helped his own cause with a leadoff single in the seventh to kick off a 4 run rally as the Phillies rebounded to take NLCS game 2 by a 6-1 score over the Giants to knot the series at 1 game apiece.
After Ross’s game-tying homer in the Giants’ fifth inning, the Phils came back in their half of the inning to take a 2-1 lead as Shane Victorino led off with a leftfield double. He advanced to 3rd base on Chase Utley’s fly out and scored on Placido Polanco sacrifice fly. Oswalt made the lead stand up although the Phils added 4 more insurance runs in the seventh inning. The other Roy helped his own cause with a leadoff single to centerfield chasing losing pitcher Sanchez. Reliever Ramon Ramirez and 2 other Giants relievers melted down as the Phils went up by 6-1.
After Victorino sacrificed bunted Oswalt to 2nd base and Utley was intentionally walked, he (Oswalt) scored on Polanco’s single to centerfield. With Ryan Howard up, Utley and Polanco worked a double-steal putting runners at 2nd and 3rd. Werth was intentionally walked bring up Jimmy Rollins. Rollins cleared the bases with a 3 run double giving him 4 RBIs for the game. Leftfielder Raul Ibanez lined out to end the inning.
Oswalt completed eight full innings throwing 111 pitches while walking 3 and striking out 9 to earn his first post-season win. Reliever Ryan Madson took over in the ninth and gave up a single and a walk while getting Cody Ross on a 3rd strike looking and getting shortstop Edgar Renteria to ground out to end the game.
The two teams have Monday off as the series changes venue to San Francisco for the next 3 games. In Tuesday’s game 3, Phillies lefthander Cole Hamels is opposed by Matt Cain for the Giants.
To view the scores of Friday’s and Saturday’s and Sunday’s league championship playoff games, click here, here and here.