Like us to subscribe
The San Francisco Giants got their cuts in against Roy Halladay and the Phillies Thursday night. They got a couple breaks. They kept pushing and scraping and fighting. But nothing showed from their efforts at the end of the day. They lost 4-2 and now the NLCS heads back to Philadelphia for Game Six.
McCovey Chronicles is used to this kind of torture from their franchise. And so should the rest of the Giants’ fans out there:
The torture would have ended if the Phillies had put up an eight-run inning early and Roy Halladay was at his dominating best. We could have made peace with a loss early, steeling ourselves for a return trip to Philadelphia. That’s not how this season works, though. That wasn’t on the schedule. A quick, tidy, out-in-five series wouldn’t do. Oh, no, no, no. The Giants needed to take us out of our comfort zone because they’re twisted monsters.
Of course, Saturday is going to be a one-run game. You’ll watch it with your your esophagus liquefying and bubbling up and over your tongue along with the rest of your innards. You’ll lose some hair, a year off your life, and probably some self-respect. It’s Giants baseball. You’re in handcuffs, you’re not sure if you’re part of a magic act or some sick freak’s dungeon, and you sure as hell don’t know what the safe word is.
Watching Game 5 of the NLCS, one noticed that Roy Halladay wasn't exactly at the top of his game, instead scuffling and having to work out of trouble. We may now have an explanation for why that was.
The injury clearly wasn't a serious one, but it would make sense if it knocked Halladay off his game a little bit. This could be something to monitor going forward, as Halladay could theoretically be available out of the Phillies bullpen in one of the remaining games. The groin injury will probably be a non-factor, but Halladay could wake up a little sore in the morning.
Pushed to the brink of elimination with a Game 4 loss Wednesday night, the Phillies handed the ball to Roy Halladay on Thursday begging for the most he could give. And though Halladay didn't have his best stuff, he left everything he had on the field, and in so doing helped to keep the Phillies' season alive.
Roy Halladay battled through six innings of two-run ball, Jayson Werth added a critical run with a homer, and the bullpen did the job as the Phillies hung on for a 4-2 win over the Giants in Game 5 of the NLCS, forcing a Game 6 and sending the series back to Philadelphia.
In a rematch of Game 1's epic showdown, billed as perhaps the best pitching matchup of the season, neither Halladay nor opponent Tim Lincecum appeared to be at the top of his game Thursday night. It was Halladay who wound up getting the best of it, although he wasn't without his scares.
The Giants managed to strike early and pick up a run in the bottom of the first. After Lincecum set the top of the Phillies order down 1-2-3, Andres Torres drew a leadoff walk, advanced to third on a single by Freddy Sanchez, and scored on a slow grounder by Buster Posey. That gave the home team a quick edge, and the hope was that they'd be able to lean on their ace the rest of the way.
But Lincecum was imperfect himself, and after an easy second, he ran into trouble in the third. Raul Ibanez led off with a base hit, and Carlos Ruiz then got hit on the arm on an 0-2 pitch inside. That put two men on base with nobody out, and Halladay stepped in looking to bunt.
Halladay dropped down a first-pitch bunt to advance the runners. Replays showed that the ball was picked up by Posey in foul territory, and Halladay didn't run out of the batter's box because he knew the ball was foul, but the umpire nevertheless called it a fair ball, and the runners advanced to second and third. Shane Victorino then stood in and ripped a groundball to first that took a funny bounce and bounded off of Aubrey Huff's body and into center field. Two runs scored on the play, putting the Phillies on top 2-1, and Victorino wound up on second base.
Victorino would then score five pitches later, when Placido Polanco smacked a single of his own into center field. Lincecum escaped a jam and got out of the inning, but the damage had been done.
The Giants were soon able to get a run back in the fourth. Pat Burrell lined a one-out double into left field off Halladay, and Cody Ross then fisted a double of his own into right field, just inside the line. That double drove in Burrell and cut the deficit to 3-2.
The inning would end on the basepaths, though, as Pablo Sandoval followed by flying out to right, and Ross was thrown out at third trying to tag up. Jayson Werth threw a strike from right field and Ross was tagged out well in advance of reaching the base.
From that point forward, there wouldn't be any more scoring for a while. Lincecum settled down, retiring 11 in a row, and Halladay worked around a handful of baserunners. In the fifth, Halladay survived men on the corners with two out. In the sixth, he survived men on first and second with two out. His strikeout of Juan Uribe to escape that jam proved to be the final at bat of his evening.
Lincecum got into some hot water in the top of the seventh, putting men on the corners with only one out. Pinch-hitter Ross Gload stepped in looking to give the Phillies some insurance, but his line drive was gloved by Huff at first base, who stepped on the bag for a lineout double play to end the inning. The Phillies had come that close, but they couldn't catch a break.
Fortunately for them, their bullpen held tough. J.C. Romero and Jose Contreras kept the Giants silent in the seventh, and Ryan Madson came out and struck out the side in the eighth, bringing the Phillies three outs away from a critical win.
And it was in the ninth that the Phillies got their insurance. Jayson Werth stepped in to lead off against new reliever Ramon Ramirez, and Werth drove a low fastball the other way, the ball getting some help from the wind and carrying over the tall right field fence. The solo home run pushed the score to 4-2, and everyone in the Philadelphia dugout could breathe a little easier.
The win went to Halladay, who allowed two runs on six hits over six innings. The loss went to Lincecum, who allowed three runs on four hits in seven.
The Giants remain ahead in the series by a count of three games to two, but the series will now shift back to Philadelphia for the final one or two games. Game 6 is scheduled for Saturday, and will pit Jonathan Sanchez up against Roy Oswalt. Should the Rangers win Game 6 of the ALCS tomorrow, Game 6 of the NLCS will begin at 7:57pm ET. Should the Rangers lose, Game 6 of the NLCS will begin at 3:57pm ET.
Brad Lidge has developed something of a reputation for making things uncomfortable, but his ninth inning proved to be a total breeze.
Pinch-hitter Travis Ishikawa stood in as the Giants' last hope. He managed to work the longest at bat of the inning, but on a 2-2 count, he swung and missed through a slider over the plate, and just like that, the Phillies had taken Game 5 and forced this series to go back to Philadelphia.
Game 6 will take place Saturday night, matching up Jonathan Sanchez and Roy Oswalt. The Phillies won the first matchup of those two pitchers by a score of 6-1.
Following the home run, Raul Ibanez slapped a one-out single, and Ben Francisco reached on a swinging bunt with two outs, when Pablo Sandoval had to charge in for a grounder and threw wide of Aubrey Huff at first base.
That brought Shane Victorino to the plate with two runners on, and Bruce Bochy called for lefty Jeremy Affeldt out of the bullpen. Affeldt got ahead 0-2 in the count, but then threw three consecutive balls to run the count full. With the runners taking off, Affeldt blew a high fastball by Victorino to finish it off.
Brad Lidge is on to try and close out a 4-2 game and send this series back to Pennsylvania.
Against righty reliever Ramon Ramirez, Jayson Werth led off and worked his way to a 2-1 count. He then got a fastball over the outer edge of the plate and went with it the other way, lifting a high line drive down the right field line and over the tall wall for a solo home run.
That the ball carried as well as it did took the broadcast booth by surprise, but the wind is blowing about 9mph out to right field and it may have given Werth the necessary amount of lift. The important thing is that the ball cleared by a few rows of seats, and it extended the Phillies' lead to 4-2. It's not exactly a comfortable cushion, but it's a decent one, and the Giants will have Pablo Sandoval, Juan Uribe, and the pitcher's spot due up in the bottom.
Protecting a narrow 3-2 lead, Madson faced Buster Posey, Pat Burrell, and Cody Ross. All guys capable of tying the game with one swing of the bat. They took six swings of the bat. None of them hit a ball fair.
Posey struck out swinging on six pitches, Burrell struck out swinging on three pitches, and Ross struck out on four pitches in perhaps the most impressive inning of relief we've seen all series. That sends this game to the ninth, and the Phillies are just three outs away from taking this series back home.
The Giants weren't able to score to tie the game up in the bottom of the seventh, but their bullpen managed to preserve the one-run deficit heading into the bottom of the eighth.
Sergio Romo came out in relief of Tim Lincecum and got Shane Victorino to ground out harmlessly to lead off. Romo did then walk Placido Polanco to put an insurance run on base, but that brought up lefties Chase Utley and Ryan Howard, and Bruce Bochy has an answer to those guys by the name of Javier Lopez.
The sidearming lefty specialist came in out of the Giants bullpen once more and made quick work of his opponents. Utley struck out looking on a 2-2 fastball. Howard then came up looking for an extra-base hit, but he lifted a lazy fly ball into left, and Pat Burrell made the catch to end the frame.
Off to the bottom of the eighth, with Ryan Madson on for Philadelphia.
The Phillies could've been confident for as long as Roy Halladay was in the game, even though he didn't have his best stuff. He was pinch-hit for in the top of the seventh, though, meaning the bottom of the seventh made it anxiety hour.
Jose Contreras came in from the Phillies bullpen, trying to protect a 3-2 lead. He struck out pinch-hitter Mike Fontenot to lead off, but then allowed a base hit by Andres Torres back up the middle. Torres is the Giants' best running threat, and a bad guy to put on base.
Contreras managed to keep Torres on first and jammed Freddy Sanchez, getting him to line out softly to third base. That brought up Aubrey Huff, which brought in lefty specialist J.C. Romero from the Phillies bullpen.
Making his NLCS debut, Romero fell behind Huff 2-0, then threw a fastball over the inner edge of the zone. Huff put good wood on the ball and hit a line drive, but Chase Utley leaped to his right to make a catch and prevent a base hit. That ended the inning, and we're off to the eighth.
Sergio Romo is on for the Giants.
Working in a 3-2 game, Tim Lincecum came out in the seventh knowing that he could ill afford to let the Phillies extend their lead. And yet he very nearly did just that before escaping due to a little dumb luck.
Lincecum allowed a leadoff single to Jimmy Rollins on a sharp groundball off Freddy Sanchez's glove. Following a strikeout of Raul Ibanez, Rollins then stole both second and third base, and Carlos Ruiz drew a hard-fought walk to put men on the corners with only one out.
Out came Ross Gload to pinch-hit for Roy Halladay. Gload only needed to lift a fly ball or hit a slow roller to drive in an insurance run. He managed to do even better than that, ripping a line drive to right. His liner, though, was snared by Aubrey Huff at first, and Huff stepped on the bag to double up Ruiz and end the inning.
You never plan for line drive double plays, but you take them when you get them, and it's still 3-2 Phillies going into the bottom of the seventh. Jose Contreras is out to pitch for Philadelphia. Roy Halladay's line:
108 pitches (74 strikes)
And Lincecum's line:
3 runs (2 earned)
104 pitches (69 strikes)
The bottom of the sixth will probably be the final inning that Roy Halladay throws in the game. But oh, was it an important one.
Protecting a 3-2 lead, Halladay was able to work around trouble and keep the Giants off the board, preserving the Phillies' one-run lead. Following a leadoff walk of Buster Posey, Halladay got Pat Burrell to pop out, and struck out Cody Ross.
That brought Pablo Sandoval to the plate, and Sandoval pulled a grounder through the hole to right for a base hit. The single moved the tying run into scoring position, bringing Juan Uribe to the plate with Tim Lincecum on deck.
Halladay opted to pitch to Uribe, and battled back after falling behind 2-0. On a full count pitch, Halladay dropped a curve down and away at which Uribe whiffed, ending the threat and ending the inning.
Halladay rode his pitchcount up to 108, but he's limited the Giants to two runs in six innings. Lincecum is back out to start the seventh. This should be Lincecum's final inning, as his spot is due up to lead off the bottom half.
If you can overlook that ugly top of the third, Tim Lincecum has really thrown quite the strong game.
The top of the sixth extended Lincecum's streak to 11 consecutive retired batters, as he needed 13 pitches to work another 1-2-3. Chase Utley grounded out on a 1-2 count. Ryan Howard struck out for the third time in three at bats. And Jayson Werth fell behind 0-2 before flying out to Andres Torres in center.
Once again, Tim Lincecum came out and threw an effective inning. In the top of the fifth, Lincecum needed just nine pitches to record a strikeout, a fly out, and a groundout, and he appears to have settled himself in. His 1-2-3 sent the game to the bottom of the fifth, still 3-2 Phillies.
Roy Halladay was able to protect that lead, although it didn't come without a scare. Halladay retired the first two batters of the inning before Andres Torres grounded a ball to first that Ryan Howard couldn't handle cleanly. Torres reached on the error, and Freddy Sanchez then came up and ripped a ball to left field for his second hit of the game. That put runners on the corners with two out for Aubrey Huff.
But Huff - hitting in some fleeting but driving rain - couldn't cash in on the opportunity. On the fifth pitch, Huff chopped a ball just in front of the plate, and Carlos Ruiz was able to come out and throw down to first to end the inning.
We're headed to the sixth inning. Pitch counts are 76 for Lincecum and 82 for Halladay, and Jose Contreras was seen warming up in the Phillies bullpen.
After a shaky third, Tim Lincecum came out and looked much better in the fourth. It took him 14 pitches to work a 1-2-3 inning, striking out Jimmy Rollins and then capping it off with a lineout and a groundout.
That took us to the bottom half, when the Giants were able to mount a miniature rally against Roy Halladay to cut the Phillies' lead in half. With one out, Pat Burrell jumped on an inside fastball and drilled it into left for a double. Two pitches later, Cody Ross fought off another inside fastball and sent this one to right, landing just inside the line. Ross' double brought Burrell home and put the tying run in scoring position.
Unfortunately for the Giants, that's where it would end. Pablo Sandoval flew out to right field, and when Ross tried to tag up from second, Jayson Werth made a perfect through to gun him down at third. Ross made the final out of the inning at third base even though Halladay isn't much of a wild pitch threat, and we're headed for the fifth inning with the score 3-2 Philadelphia.
Halladay retired Tim Lincecum with ease, then allowed a base hit to Andres Torres on a grounder that Ryan Howard couldn't quite handle. Rather than let the situation snowball, though, Halladay induced a fly out to right off the bat of Freddy Sanchez, and Aubrey Huff wrapped up the inning with a harmless grounder to second.
Halladay still doesn't look quite like himself, but he's got a two-run lead a third of the way through the game, which is a good situation. He's at 55 pitches, with 37 strikes.
Raul Ibanez led off the top of the third with a line drive base hit, and - perhaps as a sign that something was awry - Tim Lincecum then hit Carlos Ruiz on the forearm with a pitch to put two on with none out.
That brought Halladay to the plate looking to bunt, and he got the bunt down to advance the runners. Or rather, he got a bunt down - a foul bunt, just to the right of home plate. But the home plate umpire ruled it fair even though replays showed it was clearly foul, and the runners moved up. Halladay didn't run out of the box because he knew the ball was foul, so he was an easy target at first.
With two in scoring position, Shane Victorino came up and ripped a grounder to first base. Aubrey Huff got into a crouch and prepared to throw home, but the ball took a funny hop off of his body and into the outfield. That error allowed both runners to score and Victorino to move up to second, putting the Phillies on top 2-1.
They weren't finished. Placido Polanco followed with a single into left that scored Victorino and extended the lead to 3-1. And then, with Polanco on the move, Chase Utley hit another single to put men on the corners.
Still, the Phillies are thrilled, and Lincecum's pitch count is up to 53.
Halladay was able to work a 1-2-3 innings to keep the score 1-0. He got a strikeout from Cody Ross, he got a groundout from Pablo Sandoval, and he got a line out from Juan Uribe. The issue is that those three at bats cost him 25 pitches. Both Sandoval and Uribe managed to take Halladay to a full count, which is extraordinarily unusual for a pitcher with such good command.
Nevertheless, he got them out, and it's possible that Halladay is just taking a little while to get settled in. We're off to the third.
Tim Lincecum was perfect in the first, even though his command was a little shaky. His command got better in the second, and he was even more perfect because of it.
Up against the meat of the Philadelphia order, Lincecum disposed of the 4-5-6 on 14 pitches - ten of them strikes. He got Ryan Howard to swing and miss at an outside changeup. He caught Jayson Werth looking at a perfectly-placed low away fastball. And Jimmy Rollins finished it off with a groundout to first that didn't require Aubrey Huff to stray very far.
After Tim Lincecum turned in a perfect first, the Phillies were looking for the same from their own ace in Roy Halladay. Unfortunately, he wasn't able to do it, and now the visitors will have to play catch up.
Halladay faced Andres Torres to lead off and tried to find the outside corner of the strike zone. He missed too many times and issued a very uncharacteristic walk.
Up next was Freddy Sanchez, and with Torres running, Sanchez lined an 0-1 cutter back into center field for a single that sent Torres all the way to third base. With nobody out, the Giants had the first run of the game just 90 feet away from home plate.
And then Aubrey Huff followed with a line drive that promised to put the Giants in the lead. Ryan Howard, though, made a diving catch to his right to keep the ball from getting down and reaching the outfield.
Yet the lead was established just three pitches later. Facing Buster Posey, Halladay got a grounder to second, but it was hit too softly to turn a double play, and Chase Utley bobbled the ball trying to pick it up anyway. Utley was able to throw out the lead runner, but Posey was safe at first, and Torres scored from third.
That put the Giants up 1-0, and though Pat Burrell struck out to end the frame, the Giants will be more than happy to take what they got.
Tim Lincecum came out and fell behind leadoff batter Shane Victorino 2-0 before inducing a pop up. Lincecum then fell behind Placido Polanco 3-1 before getting him to fly out to Andres Torres in center. And in closing, Lincecum threw a first-pitch strike to Chase Utley, and wound up inducing a weak grounder to second.
Lincecum threw six strikes and six balls in the inning, but he went through the Phillies 1-2-3, and now it's Roy Halladay's turn in the bottom half.
No surprises here, as Charlie Manuel has written out his starting lineup for Game 5. With the right-handed Tim Lincecum taking the mound for the Giants, the Phillies will have Raul Ibanez in left field instead of Ben Francisco, who started Game 4. Everything else is pretty much the same, although Placido Polanco and Chase Utley have switched slots.
Game 5 sees some changes made to the Giants' starting lineup. Returning in center field is Andres Torres, taking over for Aaron Rowand, who started each of the previous two games. Also returning is Juan Uribe, who missed time with a sore wrist before winning Game 4 with a walk-off sacrifice fly. Uribe will replace Edgar Renteria at shortstop.
(Sports Network) - The San Francisco Giants try to lock down their first World Series appearance in eight years this evening when they play Game 5 of the National League Championship Series against the Philadelphia Phillies at AT&T Park.
Attempting to secure just the team's fourth pennant since moving to San Francisco in 1958 will be two-time defending NL Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum, as he squares off against Roy Halladay in a rematch from Game 1.
"It's exciting for any fan," San Francisco catcher Buster Posey said. "Two of the best arms in the game."
Lincecum got the best of Halladay the first time around, as he held the Phillies to three runs and six hits in seven innings to get the win. He also fanned eight and has struck out 22 batters in two starts this postseason.
While San Francisco is quite confident with its ace on the hill there is no one else the Phillies would rather have going for them in an elimination game than Halladay, the front-runner for this year's NL Cy Young Award.
"This is the guy that I want to have the ball. He always finds a way to show what he's all about," Phils outfielder Shane Victorino said. "[Thursday] night, he's going to go out there, work hard, be himself and be the horse that he was when we got him."
Halladay, though, allowed eight hits and four runs in eight innings to lose Game 1 of this series following his no-hitter over the Cincinnati Reds to open the postseason.
"I'm looking for great things out of Roy. I can tell you the last time he had a bad game, he came back and shut the other team down. It's not that he went out there and had a horrible game [in Game 1], but in his mind, that's not the Roy Halladay that he wants to be."
However, including the NLCS matchup, Halladay has gone 0-3 with a 6.66 ERA in four career starts against the Giants.
"I know what I have to do," Halladay said. "My job's to execute pitches. You obviously don't beat a team single-handedly. You do it as a team. That's something we've done all year. We've beat teams as a team."
The Giants have stunned the two-time defending NL champions through the first four games of this series and continued to do so on Wednesday with a thrilling win, as Juan Uribe hit a sacrifice fly off Roy Oswalt to score Aubrey Huff in the ninth inning, giving San Francisco a dramatic 6-5 victory and a 3-1 edge in the series.
History is on the side of the Giants, who are now on the brink of their first World Series appearance since losing in seven games to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in 2002. Of the 30 previous teams to assume a 3-1 lead since the LCS went to a seven- game format in 1985, 24 have proceeded to the World Series
This is the third time that the Giants have held a 3-1 lead in the NLCS, and they were victorious the first two times, winning both series in five games at home.
"We're in a good position," Posey said. "But at the same time, we know anything can happen in baseball. I don't think we take anything for granted."
The combination of Huff and Posey went 7-for-10 with three RBI and hit consecutive one-out singles in the ninth off Oswalt (1-1), who was brought in after the Phillies used four relievers over the previous 3 1/3 innings.
"We have to try to win it as soon as possible," right-hander Sergio Romo said. "Those guys [the Phillies], they want it and they're going to give it their best as well. One win is kind of hard to get at times."
Brian Wilson (1-0) and Uribe entered on a double switch in the ninth and the latter made a terrific play in the field to start the inning, as he ranged to his right and threw an off-balanced throw that narrowly beat pinch-hitter Ross Gload at first.
The Phillies went quietly after that, and Oswalt, the winning pitcher in Game 2 and scheduled starter if there is Game 6 on Saturday, allowed a single to Huff past Ryan Howard. Posey hit a ball that just went foul in the right-field corner before the Rookie of the Year candidate laced a base hit that Jayson Werth cut off at the warning track in right.
"He told [pitching coach Rich] Dubee that he could go," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said of Oswalt. "He said he wanted to be in there and that he was glad to go."
Uribe, who suffered a bruised left wrist in the series opener, was able to get the ball deep enough to left that there wasn't a play at the plate, sending AT&T Park into a frenzy.
"I felt comfortable putting Juan out there. We had the right guy at the plate. He's come through so many times for us," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.
Placido Polanco went 2-for-3 and knocked in two runs for the two-time defending NL champion Phillies, who must win the next three games to become the first NL team to advance to three straight World Series since the 1942-44 St. Louis Cardinals.
There have been two recent teams to rally from such a deficit. The 2007 Boston Red Sox overcame a 3-1 advantage to the Cleveland Indians in 2007 and the 2003 Florida Marlins came back to win their series with the Chicago Cubs after being down two games.
"We've got Halladay going against Lincecum," said Phillies manager Charlie Manuel. "And I'd say if we like to play with our backs against the wall, it's there now. I think we're standing right there now. They were asking me today about that, whether we like to play with our backs to the wall. I think we're going to get a chance."
The Phillies split their six matchups with the Giants this season and since the start of the 2000 campaign, the teams are 36-36 against one another.
Despite both teams being original NL franchises, this is the first-ever postseason meeting between the two.
We'll email you a reset link.
If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.
You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.
We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.
You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.
We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.
Choose an available username to complete sign up.