SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Philadelphia scored three runs in the third inning against San Francisco ace Tim Lincecum with help from an error by Aubrey Huff, and the Phillies took a 3-1 lead over the Giants after three innings in Game 5 of the NL championship as they tried to stave off elimination.
San Francisco fans packed the park early, a night after the Giants took a 3-1 series lead on Juan Uribe’s game-ending sacrifice fly.
The fans looked to celebrate the team’s fourth pennant since moving West in 1958. When the Giants took a 1-0 lead in the first inning against Phillies ace Roy Halladay, that anticipation only built.
The crowd was quieted with the long top of the third inning. Raul Ibanez, back in the lineup after a night off, singled to stop an 0-for-15 slump and get the Phillies started.
Lincecum then hit Carlos Ruiz with a pitch — the record-tying fourth time Ruiz has been hit this postseason. Halladay laid down a bunt that catcher Buster Posey picked up right near the plate. Posey threw to third, but Pablo Sandoval 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.
Shane Victorino followed with a hard grounder to first that hit off Huff’s glove and into shallow center field, scoring two runs. Placido Polanco followed with an RBI single that made it 3-1.
Philadelphia is trying to become the first NL team to win three straight pennants since St. Louis in 1942-44. Only 11 teams have overcome that deficit in a best-of-seven series, with the Red Sox being the most recent, in the 2007 ALCS against Cleveland.
This was a rematch of former Cy Young winners, with Lincecum having outpitched Halladay in San Francisco’s 4-3 win in Philadelphia last Saturday.
Halladay allowed a pair of homers to Cody Ross and all four runs in that game, falling to 0-3 with a 6.66 ERA in his career against the Giants. That’s the worst ERA against any opponent, and San Francisco and the Chicago Cubs are the only two teams he has started against but not beaten in his career.
This marked just the third time all year that Halladay within 10 days faced a team that scored four runs against him again. The previous two times, he combined for 17 scoreless innings to beat Cincinnati and the Mets.
That pattern did not repeat itself as Halladay started by walking Andres Torres — the first leading off a game against him this season. Torres went to third on a hit-and-run single up the middle by Freddy Sanchez.
Pitching coach Rich Dubee came out for a mound visit after Halladay fell behind 2-0 to Huff. On the next pitch, first baseman Ryan Howard made a diving catch of a line drive for the first out. It looked as if Halladay had a chance to get out of the inning unscathed when Posey hit a slow roller to second.
Chase Utley tried to scoop the ball and make the tag in one motion to start what would have been a difficult double play. But he was unable to get the ball cleanly and had to settle for just the forceout, allowing Torres to score from third.
Halladay allowed only one hit over the next two innings as he started to find his groove.
Lincecum allowed three runs — two earned — and three hits through three innings. He had three strikeouts, at 31 moving within six of tying Bob Gibson for the most in his first three postseason starts.