SAN FRANCISCO (AP)—Roy Halladay(notes) rarely sat down between innings, riding a bicycle to keep loose after pulling his groin. He gutted it out on the mound, sending the Philadelphia Phillies home with a chance for their third straight National League pennant.
Most of his teammates didn’t even realize their ace was pitching in pain. Doc got the best of The Freak this time in a rematch of aces—and on one bad leg.
Halladay outdueled Tim Lincecum(notes) and kept the Phillies alive with a 4-2 victory over the San Francisco Giants on Thursday night that pulled Philadelphia within 3-2 in the NL championship series.
“It was just something to deal with. You make adjustments and pitch your way through it,” Halladay said of his injured right groin. “We know we can win. It’s a matter of going out and doing it. We continue to plug away.”
Having spoiled the Giants’ clinching party, the Phillies headed home on a redeye charter, hoping to stage a celebration of their own this weekend.
Some of Halladay’s teammates had noticed he wasn’t at his best.
“There was a sense of that something wasn’t entirely right,” Werth said. “But when we went back out there—I mean, guys get dinged up all the time and stay in the game and have things going on. So the fact that he went back out there kind of told me that it wasn’t that severe. But at the same time looking up at his velocity I knew that he wasn’t throwing as hard.”
Halladay’s bunt—which appeared to be foul—also helped spark a three-run third inning, when Shane Victorino(notes) drove in the first of two runs that scored on a fielding error by first baseman Aubrey Huff(notes).
Victorino’s hard grounder hit off the bottom of Huff’s glove and wound up in shallow center field as two runs scored. Polanco followed with an RBI single that made it 3-1.
Philadelphia forced a Game 6 back home in Citizens Bank Park on Saturday and another cross country trip. Jonathan Sanchez(notes) starts for the Giants against Roy Oswalt(notes), who is 10-0 in 12 starts in Philly this year. Oswalt was the loser in relief in Game 4.
“Obviously, we play good at our ballpark in front of our fans, and kind of regained home-field advantage a little bit,” said Werth, whose 13 career postseason homers are tied for the most by NL players.
Halladay improved to 2-1 with a 2.45 ERA in three postseason starts this year, doing it despite the injury, sustained in the second inning.
“Of course, he stayed in there,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. “He was determined he was going to stay in there.”
Philadelphia took his matchup of Cy Young Award winners after Lincecum came out on top in the opener. The Giants now must win once in two tries on the road for the franchise’s fourth pennant since moving West in 1958. San Francisco has not been to the World Series since the Giants’ Barry Bonds-led team lost Game 7 to the Angels in 2002.
Philadelphia will try to become the 12th team to rally from a 3-1 deficit in a best-of-seven series. The Red Sox were the last to do it, in the 2007 ALCS against Cleveland.
“From our perspective, we see ourselves more in the driver’s seat than them,” Lincecum said.
San Francisco put the possible tying run in scoring position in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings but couldn’t capitalize, losing in a potential postseason clincher at home for the first time since Game 7 of the 1962 World Series against the New York Yankees.
In a series dominated by pitching, the Phillies are hitting just .209 and the Giants .220. Little has separated the teams—and despite trailing in the series, Philadelphia has outscored San Francisco 18-16.
Halladay stared down Pat Burrell(notes) after a called third strike to end the first, and Burrell jawed at Halladay while sprinkling in profanities. Clearly fuming in the dugout, Halladay returned to the mound seemingly unfazed by that moment or a steady drizzle that hit during parts of the later innings.
Lincecum, the two-time reigning NL Cy Young Award winner, beat Halladay five days earlier. He was 2-0 so far this postseason and pitched another solid game except for one rough inning, but the offense failed to back him.
“We just didn’t play great fundamental baseball tonight,” Huff said. “No doubt the error was big but we weren’t able to get the big hit with runners in scoring position. If you’d have told us when the series started that we were going to be in this position I think we’d all take it. But we have to go out there and play like we’ve been playing all year.”
Halladay labored at times and threw 108 pitches in six innings, far from the control and dominance he exhibited in tossing only the second no-hitter in postseason history Oct. 6 to start off the Phillies’ division series sweep against the Cincinnati Reds.
Halladay allowed two runs and six hits, struck out five and walked two— including a free pass to leadoff man Andres Torres(notes) in the first that led to a run on Buster Posey’s(notes) RBI groundout. The defense behind him even had a few bobbles Thursday but came through.
Raul Ibanez(notes) snapped an 0-for-15 funk with a single to start Philadelphia’s three-run third. Lincecum plunked Carlos Ruiz(notes)—the record-tying fourth time Ruiz has been hit this postseason. Halladay laid down a bunt that catcher Posey picked up right near the plate. Posey threw to third, but Pablo Sandoval(notes) could not get back to the bag for the force. Halladay did not run, thinking it was a foul ball, and was easily thrown out at first.
Lincecum gave up a single to Chase Utley(notes) in the third, then retired the next 11 batters in order before Jimmy Rollins(notes) singled to start the seventh. Rollins then stole second and third, becoming the first to steal two bags in one inning of an NLCS game since New York’s Roger Cedeno in Game 4 of the 1999 NLCS.
Cody Ross(notes), who homered twice off Halladay in Game 1, struck out swinging to start the second but hit an RBI double in his next at-bat in the fourth to pull the Giants within 3-2. Burrell doubled before Ross. The Giants did little else.
“With this club, we don’t do anything easy,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “What they’ve been through, they’ll put this behind us. Believe me, under no illusion did we think this was going to be easy playing a great club.”
Notes: Utley stole his third base of the series and fourth of the postseason. He is 10 for his last 10 steal attempts in the postseason since being thrown out for the only time by Russell Martin(notes) in Game 3 of the 2008 NLCS at Dodger Stadium. … Former Giants manager and beloved outfielder Felipe Alou, Jim Davenport, Orlando Cepeda, Willie Mays and Eddie Bressoud all threw out ceremonial first pitches as part of a tribute to the 1958 club. Mays tipped his cap to the cheering crowd. … The walk to Torres was just the first leadoff walk by Halladay all year. … Ruiz tied Miguel Cairo(notes)—in 2004 with the Yankees — for most times being hit in a postseason.
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