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Updated: October 20, 2010
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Copyright © 1997-2010
Grand Slam/Marco Stoovelaar

Compiled and Copyright © 1997-2010 by Marco Stoovelaar

Giants take 3-1 lead in NLCS with walk-off win
SAN FRANCISCO, California (USA) - The San Francisco Giants played a great game on Wednesday-evening and won Game 4 vs. the Philadelphia Phillies 6-5 on a walk-off sacrifice fly to take a 3-1 lead in their best-of-seven National League Championship Series. Game 5 will be played on Thursday-evening and when the Giants win, they will clinch the World Series for the first time since 1989.

After the Phillies had stranded a runner in the first inning, the Giants opened the score in their half of the at bat. With one out Freddy Sanchez singled and advanced two bases on two wild pitches by starter Joe Blanton. He then scored when Buster Posey singled.

The Phillies got another baserunner in the second inning when Jimmy Rollins singled with one out. But with two outs, Rollins was picked off and caught stealing on what appeared to be a balk by pitcher Madison Bumgarner. In the bottom of the second, lead-off hitter Cody Ross was hit by a pitch, but was left behind as three outs followed.

Bumgarner retired the side in the top of the third, then the Giants added a run in the home half. With two outs, Aubrey Huff singled, then scored all the way from first base on a double by Buster Posey, who collected his second RBI.

The Phillies left two more runners in the fourth inning, but then rallied for four runs in the top of the fifth. Ben Francisco and Carlos Ruiz led off with singles, then advanced on a sacrifice bunt by pitcher Joe Blanton. A single by Shane Victorino then accounted for a run, but Ruiz was thrown out at the plate by centerfielder Aaron Rowand. Next, Chase Utley also singled, which meant the end for Bumgarner, who was replaced by Santiago Casilla. However, he was greeted with a 2-run double by Placido Polanco, which gave the Phillies a 3-2 lead. Ryan Howard was then walked intentionally, but then the bases got loaded when Jayson Werth was hit by a pitch. A wild pitch then led to another run, but Casilla then ended the at bat by striking out Jimmy Rollins.

In the home of the fifth, the Giants got one run back. Andres Torres led off with a walk and advanced on a grounder, then scored on a 2-out single by Aubrey Huff to make it 4-3.

Hereafter, Josť Ariel Contreras took over for Joe Blanton and the Cuban ended the inning by striking out Buster Posey.

The Giants got back on top in the bottom of the sixth inning. Chad Durbin, who took over for Contreras, started by walking Pat Burrell, then gave up a double to Cody Ross. Next, Pablo Sandoval also doubled to bring in both runners and give the Giants a 5-4 lead.

In the bottom of the seventh inning, the Giants got the bases loaded with only one out, but failed to add another run and that was costly. New pitcher Antonio Bastardo gave up a double to Buster Posey with one out and was replaced by Ryan Madson, who then walked Pat Burrell. An error on a force play-grounder by Cody Ross then loaded the bases, but then Pablo Sandoval grounded into a double play. After the Giants didn't score, the Phillies did score in the eighth to make it a 5-5 tie. Ryan Howard led off with a double which brought in new pitcher Sergio Romo, who then gave up an RBI-double to Jayson Werth that tied the score. But then a pop-fly followed and Romo struckout the next two hitters to end the inning. The Giants got a runner on base in its eighth, but he was caught stealing.

In the ninth, Giants-closer Brian Wilson retired the side, then Roy Oswalt took over the pitching for the Phillies. Oswalt was the starting pitcher three days ago in Game 2 when the Phillies won 6-1. In that game, Oswalt threw eight innings. Lead-off hitter Freddy Sanchez lined the ball into rightfield, but there Jayson Werth made the catch. Next, Aubrey Huff singled into rightfield to bring Buster Posey to the plate. Posey then drove the ball into the deep rightfield-corner for a foulball, then singled to bring Huff to third base. For the 23-year old Posey, this was his fourth basehit in the game to set a rookie-record. Hereafter, Juan Uribe was the next hitter. Uribe didn't start the game because of a sore rib, but entered the ninth inning defensively as short stop and started that at bat with a great out to retire the first hitter. And now, with the bat, he drove the ball into leftfield for a sacrifice fly that brought in Huff with the winning run.

(October 20)

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