The Philadelphia Phillies headed home still clinging to their two-year reign as National League champions after a 4-2 win in San Francisco.
Roy Halladay overcame a mild groin pull to get the victory as the Phillies pulled within 3-2 in the best-of-seven National League Championship Series. Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said Halladay hurt himself in the second inning last night.
“The velocity on his fastball kind of fell off and he was having a hard time pushing off the mound,” Manuel said in a news conference. “He was determined he was going to stay in there. I think he gutted it out.”
Game 6 is set for tomorrow at the Phillies’ Citizens Bank Park, which would host a decisive Game 7 the following day if necessary. The Phillies have won on their past five visits to the NL Championship Series, a streak that began in 1980.
Tim Lincecum allowed three runs in seven innings for the Giants, who are trying to reach the World Series for the first time since 2002.
The Giants last won a World Series in 1954, when they were based in New York and 23-year-old center-fielder Willie Mays made one of the iconic catches in Major League Baseball history off the bat of Cleveland’s Vic Wertz.
“We don’t do anything easy,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said in a news conference. “We’ll put this behind us and fly out tomorrow and get ready for the next game.”
Game 6 of the American League Championship Series is tonight in Arlington, Texas, with the Texas Rangers holding a 3-2 lead against the New York Yankees. Phil Hughes will start for the Yankees against the Rangers’ Colby Lewis. A decisive seventh game, if necessary, would be tomorrow in Texas.
Lincecum won his pitching matchup with Halladay in Game 1 of the NL series in Philadelphia. Both are former Cy Young Award winners -- Halladay won in the American League in 2003 for Toronto and Lincecum has won the past two awards as the National League’s best pitcher.
Halladay, who pitched a no-hitter in the first round of the playoffs against the Cincinnati Reds, scattered six hits while allowing two runs in six innings.
“Give him credit,” Bochy said. “It was a gutty effort by him. We had him on the ropes a few times, and we were just missing another hit.”
The Phillies managed only four hits off Lincecum this time, three of them coming in a three-run third inning in which the visitors were helped by an error.
The Giants scored in the first inning on a walk, a hit-and-run single to center by Freddy Sanchez and Buster Posey’s run-scoring groundout.
Philadelphia took a 3-1 lead in the third when two runs scored on an error by San Francisco first baseman Aubrey Huff and Placido Polanco added a run-scoring single.
“We were able to score some runs on some errors they made,” Polanco said. “That’s what good teams do.”
Pat Burrell and Cody Ross had consecutive doubles in the fourth inning to pull the Giants within a run. Halladay left two men on base in the fifth as a light rain became harder for about 20 minutes, and also left two Giants on base in the sixth.
Jayson Werth hit a home run to right field leading off the ninth for Philadelphia’s final run. It was his 13th career postseason home run, tying him with three other players for the most by a National League player.