Game four of the NLCS is over and the Phils have lost in crushing fashion, pushing them to the brink of elimination. Both the Giants and the Phillies have scored 14 runs in the series — San Francisco’s 14 have been a lot better than Philadelphia’s 14 and earned them a three games to one lead.
Game four was a wild one.
The Giants got on the board first. Freddy Sanchez singled with one out, took second on a wild pitch by Blanton and third on a wild pitch by Blanton before Buster Posey brought him home with a single into center, putting the Giants up 1-0. Posey did it again in the third when his two-out double plated Aubrey Huff and extended the lead to 2-0. Two nice defensive plays to end the bottom of the fourth, one by Utley and one by Rollins, seemed to spark the Phils in the fifth. Francisco and Ruiz singled back-to-back and were bunted to second and third by Blanton with the first out. Victorino followed that with a single into center that scored Francisco and cut the lead to 2-1, but Ruiz was gunned down at the plate for the second out. Utley followed that with a single and Polanco delivered a two-run double to put the Phils up 3-2. An intentional walk to Howard and a hit by pitch by Werth loaded the bases for the Phils, and Polanco scored from third on a wild pitch before Rollins struck out to end the frame with the Phils ahead 4-2. Blanton walked Andres Torres to start the fifth, though, and Torres would come around to score to cut the lead to 4-3. Durbin had a miserable sixth. He walked the leadoff man Burrell and Cody Ross followed that with a double. Pablo Sandoval cleared the bases with a double to put San Francisco on top at 5-4. Howard and Werth doubled back-to-back to start the eighth, with Werth’s double driving in Howard to tie the game at 5-5 with nobody out and Werth at second. The Phils left him there, though, and Oswalt entered a tie game in the ninth. Huff and Posey singled back-to-back with one out, putting men on first and third for Juan Uribe. Uribe flew to left deep enough for Huff to tag and score, giving the Giants a 6-5 win.
The whole thing had the feel of a game the Phillies had to have if they were going to win the series. They didn’t get it and it leaves them with a lot of work to do now against some fantastic pitching to keep their season alive.
The Phillies trail the San Francisco Giants three games to one in the NLCS after losing 6-5 last night.
Blanton got the start for the Phillies and pitched badly at a critical time against a bad offensive team. He went 4 2/3 innings, allowing three runs on five hits and a walk. Only one of the hits went for extra-bases, a double. He struck out three.
The choice of the starting pitcher for the Phillies has been criticized. I think Manuel chose his starting pitcher correctly. The Phillies needed Blanton to pitch better and it was reasonable to expect that he would.
He faced a Giants lineup that went (1) Edgar Renteria (SS/R) (2) Freddy Sanchez (2B/R) (3) Aubrey Huff (1B/L) (4) Buster Posey (C/R) (5) Pat Burrell (LF/R) (6) Cody Ross (RF/R) (7) Pablo Sandoval (3B/S) (8) Rowand (CF/R). The switch-hitting Sandoval makes his first start of the series with Fontenot and Uribe on the bench. Rowand stays in center with Torres on the bench.
The Giants had six players on the bench to start the game. Lefties Travis Ishikawa, Mike Fontenot and Nate Schierholtz, switch-hitter Andre Torres and righties Eli Whiteside and Juan Uribe.
Renteria led off the bottom of the first and grounded to third on a 1-1 pitch for the first out. Sanchez followed and lined a 1-0 pitch into left for a single. Blanton got ahead of Huff 0-2 and his next offering bounced in front of the plate and off of Ruiz’s arm for a wild pitch that allowed Sanchez to take second. Huff struck out swinging at the next pitch for the second out. Blanton got ahead of Posey as well, but again bounced an 0-2 pitch in front of the plate that Ruiz didn’t handle. That wild pitch moved Sanchez to third before Posey hit a 2-2 pitch back up the middle for a single. Sanchez scored and the Giants led 1-0. Burrell was next and grounded to short on an 0-1 pitch to end the inning.
Two wild pitches in the inning for Blanton. Ruiz did a nice job to block another ball that bounced way in front of the plate in Posey’s at-bat. Blanton threw 16 pitches in the inning.
Ross led off the second and Blanton hit him near the right wrist with a 2-2 pitch. Sandoval was next and chopped an 0-2 pitch down the first line. Howard fielded it in front of the bag and the ball was called fair. Howard stepped on first for the first out and Ross took second. Rowand struck out looking at an 0-2 pitch on the outside corner. The pitcher Bumgarner struck out swinging 0-2.
Blanton didn’t throw a ball in the inning after the pitch that hit Ross. He had thrown 30 in the game.
Renteria grounded to short to start the third. Sanchez was next and he grounded to short as well, but Huff ripped a single into right. Posey was next and he hit a 2-2 pitch over the head of Francisco in left. Huff scored without a throw and the lead was 2-0. Burrell grounded to short on an 0-1 pitch for the third out.
Francisco didn’t play the ball well in left, but he might not have caught it even if he had. Blanton was up to 43 pitches.
Ross led off and lined to third for the first out. Sandoval was next and hit a 1-0 pitch between first and second. Utley made a very nice diving play moving to his left and threw Sandoval out for the second out. Rowand hit a 1-1 pitch in the hole between third and short, but Rollins made the play moving right and made a strong throw to end the inning.
Two nice plays for the Phils in the inning. Kung Fu Panda is really fat and slow. Blanton at 50 pitches.
Blanton had a 4-2 lead when he started the fifth. Torres, who had been double-switched into the game in the top of the inning, led off and walked. Renteria hit a 1-2 pitch to third. It was a double-play ball, but Polanco didn’t handle it cleanly. The ball went off his chest. Polanco recovered nicely, throwing to first to get Renteria for the first out as Torres took second. Sanchez flew to center for the second out and Blanton stayed in to pitch to the lefty Huff. Huff singled into center on an 0-1 pitch, scoring Torres just ahead of the throw from Victorino. Contreras took over for Blanton and struck Posey out swinging 3-2 to end the inning.
Two things in the inning. First, not getting the double-play on the ball hit by Renteria cost the Phils a run they didn’t have to spare. Second is Blanton staying in to face Huff. Don’t think you can blame Manuel there, cause it was just the fifth inning, but the hit was critical after Huff had hurt Blanton to help the Giants get a run in the third.
Another nice job by Contreras in his third appearance of the series.
Durbin started the sixth and walked Burrell on a 3-2 pitch. Ross was next and he hit a 1-2 pitch into left field near the foul line for a double that moved Burrell to third. Sandoval was next and ripped the first pitch he saw from Durbin just foul down the right field line. It was fair, but the Phils got the call. Didn’t help, though, cause Sandoval lined a 1-2 pitch from Durbin into center that rolled all the way to wall. Both runners scored and the Giants led 5-4. The lefty Ishikawa hit for the pitcher Santiago Casilla and Durbin struck him out swinging 3-2 for the first out. Torres was next and popped to Rollins in shallow left for the second. Renteria drew a walk on a 3-2 pitch, putting two men on for Sanchez, but Durbin got Sanchez on a popup to Rollins to leave both men stranded.
Miserable inning for Durbin and for Manuel. Manuel left him in to pitch to the switch-hitter Sandoval, who clearly needs a lefty, and then to the lefty Ishikawa. I’m not sure exactly who he’s saving the lefties for, but apparently he was saving Romero to watch. Manuel is going to get a lot of criticism about the game that he doesn’t deserve, but he left Durbin in way too long in the sixth. Sandoval on-based .284 against lefties for the year. Durbin was also getting blasted.
Walking the leadoff hitter isn’t really the way to go — second time in two innings the Phillies did so and the second time he scored.
Bastardo started the seventh and got Huff to fly to right for the first out. For reasons unknown, Manuel left him in to pitch to Posey and Posey doubled to the right field corner. Madson came in to pitch to Burrell and walked him on a 3-2 pitch that was a strike but was called a ball, putting men on first and second with one out for Ross. Ross hit a double-play ball to Rollins that Rollins booted for an error and the bases were loaded. Sandoval hit into a double-play to second to end the inning.
Again, I don’t understand why Manuel let Bastardo pitch to Posey.
Fantastic job by Madson, who threw two double-play balls and should have gotten the call on the 3-2 pitch to Burrell.
He was back to start the bottom of the eighth with the score tied at 5-5. Schierholtz, who had been double-switched into the game in the top of the inning, led off and struck out swinging. Torres was next and singled to right on a 2-2 pitch. Torres took off for second on the first pitch to Renteria, but Ruiz made a fantastic throw to gun him down for the second out. Renteria struck out swinging 2-2 to end the inning.
Great throw by Ruiz. Madson is a beast, but he threw 32 pitches last night and that probably means he won’t be available tonight.
Oswalt started the ninth with Kendrick, Romero and Lidge all available. Sanchez led off and lined to Werth for the first out. The lefty Huff swung at the first pitch and singled into right past a diving Howard. Posey was next and he singled as well, with Werth making a nice sliding play to hold him to a single. Huff went all the way to third on the hit, though, putting men on the corners with one down. Uribe, who had been double-switched into the game in the top of the ninth, was the hitter and he hit a 2-2 pitch to left deep enough that Francisco didn’t have a chance. Huff tagged and scored to give the Giants a 6-5 win.
The lefty Huff gets the hit off of Oswalt and then comes around to score the winning run.
Durbin threw 38 miserable pitches in the game and almost surely can’t pitch tonight. Madson threw 32, which is really bad news for the Phillies. Oswalt 18, Contreras six and Bastardo ten.
Lidge zero. Kendrick zero. Romero zero.
That wasn’t very well done by Manuel. Lost Durbin for today, lost Madson for today. Let Durbin pitch way too long. Letting Durbin pitch to Sandoval may have been the biggest mistake of the game and was completely avoidable. His decision to let Oswalt start the ninth didn’t work and left him with three guys in his pen he didn’t use. Oswalt got hurt by a lefty with a lefty available in the pen and it helped the Giants score the winning run.
Looking back at the game now, I wish that he had given Kendrick a chance to throw multiple innings after it became clear that Blanton was going to make an early exit.
The Phillies lineup against lefty Madison Bumgarner went (1) Victorino (2) Utley (3) Polanco (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Rollins (7) Francisco (8) Ruiz. Francisco gets his first start of the series in left, with the struggling Ibanez on the bench against the lefty.
The Phillies bench had six offensive players to start the game, lefties Brian Schneider, Ross Gload, Raul Ibanez and Domonic Brown and righties Mike Sweeney and Wilson Valdez.
Victorino was the first batter of the game and looked bad trying to check his swing 0-1. He was called out on a 3-2 pitch that he thought was inside because it was. Utley was next and hit a 1-0 pitch hard, but to second base where Sanchez fielded and threw to first for the second out. Bumgarner hit Polanco on the right leg with a 2-1 pitch, bringing Howard to the plate with two outs and a man on first. Howard struck out swinging 2-2 to leave Polanco stranded.
Victorino should have had a walk. Utley hit the ball hard, but Howard looked bad striking out.
The Phils were down 1-0 when they hit in the second. Werth was swinging first pitch and flew to center. Rollins was next and singled to left on a 1-1 pitch. Francisco hit a couple of balls hard foul before he struck out swinging 1-2 for the second out. Ruiz got behind 0-2 and Rollins tried to steal second, but Bumgarner threw to first and Huff went to second where Rollins was tagged out to end the frame.
At least Rollins was running. The move by Bumgarner was probably a balk. Bumgarner had thrown 29 pitches.
Ruiz led off the third took a 3-2 pitch that was called strike three. Again the ball was inside. Blanton struck out swinging 3-2 for the second out. Victorino swung at the first pitch and grounded to third.
Second time in two innings the Phils were denied a walk to start the inning on a bad call. Bumgarner was at 44 pitches.
It was 2-0 when the Phillies hit in the fourth. Utley flew to left on a 1-1 pitch for the first out. Polanco followed him with a single into left and Howard drew a walk on a 3-2 pitch that was low. Werth was next and he hit a 1-2 pitch hard, but lined to right for the second out. Rollins struck out looking at a 2-2 pitch on the outside part of the plate to leave both runners stranded.
Bumgarner at 68. Werth hit the ball hard, but right at someone. Big strikeout for Rollins leaves two men aboard.
Francisco led off the fifth and banged a single into center. Ruiz was next and he singled to right, moving Francisco to second. Blanton put down a nice bunt with the first out, moving the runners to second and third. Victorino was next and he hit the first pitch he saw back through the middle and into center field for a single. Francisco scored and Ruiz tried to score, but Rowand’s throw to the plate was strong and accurate. Posey made a nice play to short-hop it and tag Ruiz out as he slid home for the second out. It left Victorino at first with two down and the Phils down 2-1. Utley was next and he bashed a single to right, moving Polanco to second. Righty Santiago Casilla took over for Bumgarner to pitch to Polanco, with Torres double-switching into the game in place of Rowand. Polanco got ahead 2-1 and then split the gap in left-center on a 2-2 pitch. Both runners scored and the Phils led 3-2 with Polanco on second with a huge double. Casilla stayed in and walked the lefty Howard intentionally. Werth was next and he was hit on the jersey by a 1-0 pitch by Casilla, loading the bases for Rollins. Rollins got behind in the count, but Casilla’s 1-2 pitch bounced in front of the plate and Posey couldn’t handle it. Everyone moved up a base on the wild pitch and the Phillies led 4-2. Rollins struck out swinging 3-2 to leave the runners at second and third.
Francisco gets the rally started. Awful play to get Ruiz thrown out at the plate. It really would have been a lot better to have Ruiz on third with one out. Also awful that Victorino did not go to second on the play at the plate. The play cost the Phils one run they couldn’t spare, but it almost cost them two. Victorino would have scored from second on the Utley single if he had been there, but Polanco’s double changed everything. Nice job by Blanton to get the bunt down.
The lead had been cut to 4-3 when the Phils hit against Casilla in the sixth. Francisco led off and flew to the warning track in left on a 1-0 pitch for the first out. Ruiz struck out swinging 1-2 for the second. Brown hit for Contreras and hit a dribbler to second for the third.
The Phillies were down 5-4 when they hit in the seventh. Lefty Javier Lopez was on the mound for the Giants and walked Victorino on four pitches to start the inning. Utley popped to Renteria in shallow left on an 0-1 pitch for the first out. Polanco was next and he grounded into a double-play to second base to end the frame.
Lopez was back to start the eighth. Howard led off and doubled to the gap in left-center on a 3-2 pitch to start the inning. Righty Sergio Romo came in to pitch to Werth with Nate Schierholtz double-switched into the game. Ross went to left with Schierholtz in right and Burrell out of the game. Werth ripped a 1-1 pitch from Romo just fair down the left field line and into the corner for a double that scored Howard and tied the game at 5-5. Rollins popped to third for the first out. With the lefty Affeldt warming in the pen, Manuel left Francisco in to face the righty and Francisco looked bad striking out on three pitches. Ruiz struck out swinging at an 0-2 pitch that was way outside.
The Phils can’t add another run after putting Werth on second with nobody out. In a season full of failure with runners in scoring position, not bringing Werth home there might prove to be the most costly. I don’t care if Rollins bunts or not, but if he doesn’t he really needs to move the runner to third base with the first out. Francisco against a right-handed pitcher isn’t a good choice for the second out. If you go Ibanez for Francisco they bring in Affeldt and you wind up with Sweeney against Affeldt. That’s better than Francisco looking awful striking out on three pitches and the Phils wound up not using Ibanez or Sweeney in the game.
Not getting to the pitcher’s spot allowed Madson to come back to start the bottom of the eighth.
Righty Brian Wilson started the ninth for the Giants with Uribe at short and Renteria double-switched out of the game. Gload hit for Madson and hit a ground ball that Uribe fielded on the grass in shallow left. Uribe made a long, strong throw to nip Gload for the first out. Victorino struck out swinging at a 1-2 pitch for the second out. Utley lined to left on a 1-1 pitch to set the Phils down.
Victorino was 1-for-4 with a walk in the game. 3-for-15 with a double and two walks in the series.
Utley was 1-for-5 with a single. 2-for-15 with three walks in the set.
Polanco 2-for-3 with a huge double and two RBI. He couldn’t field the double-play ball cleanly in the fifth and it cost the Phils a run. He’s 4-for-14 with two doubles in the series.
Howard 1-for-2 with a double and two walks. 5-for-13 with three doubles and hitting 385/500/615 in the series.
Werth 1-for-3 with a huge RBI-double in the eighth. 3-for-12 with a double, a home run and three walks.
Rollins was 1-for-4 with a single and left five men on base. He struck out in the fifth with the bases loaded to end the inning. His at-bat in the eighth with Werth on second was among the biggest of the season. Didn’t go well. He’s 4-for-15 with a double and a walk in the series.
Casilla threw 30 pitches in the game for the Giants, which probably means he can’t go tonight.
Francisco was 1-for-4 with two strikeouts in his first action of the series. He also had a huge at-bat in the eighth and came up empty.
Ruiz 1-for-4 with three strikeouts. 3-for-13 with a home run, no walks and six strikeouts in the series.
Roy Halladay and righty Tim Lincecum face off tonight in a rematch of game one, which the Giants won 4-3.