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Updated: October 21, 2010
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Copyright © 1997-2010
Grand Slam/Marco Stoovelaar

Compiled and Copyright © 1997-2010 by Marco Stoovelaar

Phillies force sixth game in NLCS
SAN FRANCISCO, California (USA) - The Philadelphia Phillies faced an early deficit, but then struck in the third inning en route to a 4-2 victory vs. the San Francisco Giants to force a sixth game in their best-of-seven National League Championship Series. The Giants lead 3-2, but the Series now moves back to Philadelphia, where it will continue next Saturday.

The first two innings went the Giants way. Starter Tim Lincecum retired the side in the Phillies-first, then his teammates took an 1-0 lead off Roy Halladay in the home of the first. Halladay walked lead-off hitter Andres Torres, who then advanced to third on a single by Freddy Sanchez. A line out followed and then Buster Posey grounded to second baseman Chase Utley, who wanted to tag runner Sanchez and then throw to first for a double play. But Utley missed the ball, then his only play was to throw the ball to second base for the force out, but in the meantime Torres scored the first run.

In the second inning, Lincecum retired the side again, including two strikeouts. But Hallady then also retired the side when the Giants hit in their second at bat.

The Phillies then rallied for three runs off Linceum in a wild third inning. Raul Ibanez led off with a single, then Carlos Ruiz was hit by a pitch. Next, Roy Halladay bunted, with the ball being picked up in foul territory by catcher Buster Posey. As the Home Plate Umpire ruled the ball fair, Posey threw the ball the ball to third baseman Pablo Sandoval for the force out, but he stepped besides the bag, meaning Ibanez was safe at third. In the meantime, Halladay was still standing at the plate, thinking the ball was foul. Sandoval, who fell down trying to make the play at third, then threw the ball to second baseman Freddy Sanchez (who took first base as the first baseman had come in on the bunt) to eliminate Halladay, who was credited with a sacrifice bunt, with the out going 2-5-4. Next, with runners at second and third base, Shane Victorino hit the ball to first baseman Aubrey Huff, who let the ball jump away from his glove and was credited with an error, that enabled both runners to score and brought Victorino to second base. Placido Polanco then followed with a single that brought in Victorino for the third run and a 3-1 lead. Chase Utley added another single to put runners at the corners, but then two outs followed.

Tim Lincecum recovered after the 3-run third and retired the side in the fourth. In the home of the fourth, the Giants got one run back. With one out, Pat Burrell and Cody Ross hit back-to-back doubles to make it a 3-2 score. But then the inning ended when Pablo Sandoval flied into a double play. Sandoval flied out to rightfielder Jayson Werth, who then made a strong throw to third baseman Placido Polanco, who tagged out the sliding Ross just before reaching the bag as he tried to advance on the flyout.

As it started to rain somewhat harder now and then from the fifth inning on, the Giants got some changes to get back on top, while Tim Lincecum retired the side in both the fifth and sixth inning. In the home of the fifth, Andres Torres reached on an error with two outs, then advanced to third base on a single by Freddy Sanchez, but then a groundout ended the at bat. In the sixth, Buster Posey led off with a walk, then advanced on a 2-out single by Pablo Sandoval, but again the two runners were left behind, as this time a strikeout followed.

In the home of the seventh, the Phillies threatened again. Jimmy Rollins led off with a single, then stole both second and third base with one out. Next, Carlos Ruiz walked, but then pinch-hitter Ross Gload lined into a double play, as first baseman Aubrey Huff caught the ball, then touched first base to end the inning. In the home of the seventh, Josť Ariel Contreras took over the pitching for Roy Halladay. The Cuban started with a strikeout and then gave up a single to Andres Torres. Next, Freddy Sanchez lined out to third baseman Placido Polanco after which J.C. Romero was brought in as new pitcher. Batter Aubrey Huff then also hit a line drive, but this time second baseman Chase Utley grabbed the ball out of the air to end the at bat.

The Phillies got another runner in the eighth. Sergio Romo, who came on in relief of Tim Lincecum walked Placido Polanco with one out and then was replaced by Javier Lopez, who then struckout Chase Utley. The inning ended when Ryan Howard flied out. In the home of the eighth, new Phillie-pitcher Ryan Madson struckout the side, eliminating Buster Posey, Pat Burrell and Cody Ross.

The Phillies added an insurance run in the ninth inning when Jayson Werth led off with a homerun off new pitcher Ramon Ramirez. With one out, Ramirez gave up a single to Raul Ibanez, then, with two outs, saw pinch-hitter Ben Francisco reach on a throwing error. Ramirez was replaced by Jeremy Affeldt, who ended the inning by striking out Shane Victorino. Brad Lidge then closed the game for the Phillies and retired the side to earn a save to force a sixth game next Saturday in Philadelphia.

(October 21)

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